The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Charges pending in drug raid at city eatery
BY KEITH EPPS
Fredericksburg police raided a downtown restaurant in search of drugs early Friday as the business was closing.
City police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said narcotics detectives executed a search warrant at the Otter House at 1005 Princess Anne St. at 2 a.m. and at an apartment next door, where a former employee lives.
According to court records, police seized two oxycodone pills and a small amount of marijuana from the business, including a smoking device with residue that officers found in the office.
They also seized a black journal, digital scales and a white pill in a Ziploc bag from the apartment.
Four customers and several band members were inside the Otter House at the time, along with employees, police said.
The patrons and the band members were checked and allowed to leave. The employees were temporarily placed in investigative detention, but were not charged.
Bledsoe said police expect to file charges, but it is not clear when.
She said police have been gathering information for some time and the investigation is continuing.
An affidavit for a search warrant filed in Fredericksburg Circuit Court indicates that the investigation stems back to at least Dec. 28, when the Littlepage Street residence of two people connected to the business was raided.
The affidavits states that 2.27 ounces of marijuana were seized and both men were later convicted of misdemeanors.
Starting in April, according to the affidavit, police began conducting periodic surveillance on the apartment and the business and observed what officers suspect were drug transactions.
Twice this month, according to court records, detectives watched as multiple people came to the apartment and stayed only a few minutes before leaving.
On July 11, the detectives were noticed by a woman who’d been at the apartment. She pointed them out to a resident, who later made a finger gesture toward the detectives, court records state.
The affidavit also mentions a controlled buy made on May 4 by a confidential informant inside the business.
Meanwhile, two people were charged with drug offenses Friday after one of them showed up while the raid at the Otter House was in progress.
Bledsoe said the man approached the business on foot, saw the police activity, and walked back in the direction from which he had come. Suspicious narcotics officers followed the man to a parked vehicle on Amelia Street, where two other people were inside.
Police said prescription medication and marijuana were found inside the vehicle. Jamaal Hines, 20, of Fredericksburg was charged with possession of marijuana and Shelby Pinlac Barker, 19, of Stafford County was charged with illegal possession of prescription pills. The other person in the vehicle was not charged.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404