Ashland Police have made four drug arrests following a lengthy investigation into alleged narcotics activity at an extended-stay motel near the interstate.
In a statement released Tuesday, the department said the arrests at the Apple Garden Inn, which came in conjunction with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, stemmed from community complaints and officers’ observations.
Officer Chip Watts said Tuesday the arrests all involved either heroin or crack-cocaine and spanned April and May, though they were all part of the same investigation.
Charges were filed against the following individuals: Nancy Brown, 49, and Anthony Brown, 26, both residents at Apple Garden Inn; Robert Frye, 18, of Montpelier; and Robert Perry, 38, of Ashland.
Nancy Brown was arrested April 17 on two counts of narcotics distribution; Anthony Brown faces one count and was classified as “wanted” for narcotics distribution in an April 21 notice to media and later arrested May 6. Frye was arrested May 21 on three drug distribution charges.
Perry was arrested April 19, charged with possession of illegal narcotics and is the only suspect currently incarcerated. Jail records list him as an inmate at Pamunkey Regional Jail, where he is being held on a long list of other charges on top of the narcotics violation.
The recent arrests weren’t the first to come from the Apple Garden Inn. In February 2012, Ashland Police arrested six individuals on 17 total counts of narcotics distribution, conspiracy to distribute drugs and six counts of child endangerment. Four of the suspects were living at the Inn at the time.
In the APD’s annual report for 2013, Apple Garden Inn was listed as the town’s top, individual location for police calls with 334 that year, nearly 5 percent of the department’s total call volume. Motel 6 and the Days Inn/Super 8 in Ashland were also among the town’s top call locations in 2013 with 133 and 66 calls for service, respectively.
The report warned that because of the economic downturn, more people had begun using motels in town for long-term residency in facilities never set up to accommodate permanent housing. This has resulted in increasing concerns over fire hazards, health and overall safety. Some of the motel locations were also experiencing “higher than normal crime” and increased drug-related calls, a trend that stood to stretch department resources if it continued into 2014, the report warned.
To address the issue, the department planned to continue patrolling the motel areas and increase narcotics enforcement with hopes of stabilizing those areas.
Watts said these efforts will continue for the foreseeable future.