Richards: Stronger penalties proposed for repeat offenders of Martinsburg Drug House Ordinance

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Landlords cited under Martinsburg’s Drug House Ordinance could be seeing stiffer penalties for repeat offences under an idea proposed by Martinsburg Police.

Police Chief Maury Richards recently explained the suggested fine schedule for enhanced penalties on Panhandle Live.

“For the first violation, if they come into compliance, that case is dismissed. But if they get a second one, and we’re not talking about at that same location, but any property they own, $250 guaranteed. The next one goes up to $500. The next — $1,000,” Chief Richards said.

He added if landlords still fail to comply, he will ask City Council to go after their business licenses.

“Really give them something to think about in terms of some serious fines, because we have had great feedback; there’s like 714 landlords here in Martinsburg.”

Martinsburg Police Chief Maury Richards

“98 percent of them are doing fantastic, and we appreciate their cooperation. But for those who just don’t get it, or don’t care, or don’t want to support what we’re doing, well, we’ve got a new answer for you,” Richards said.

Chief Richards said the proposed change has had its first and second readings and could be finalized by Martinsburg City Council this month.

Story by Marsha Chwalik/Panhandle News Network