Investigators raid Youngstown homes as part of drug investigation

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Officers also removed lawnmowers, snow blowers and other equipment that they say was stolen and used to barter for drugs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Police and local and federal drug task force members have raided three homes on Griselda Avenue as part of a drug investigation.

City police officer Brian Voitus, a member of the Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force, said the raids were the result of an investigation launched after a series of complaints about illegal activity at the homes.

Several people were detained when officers searched the homes, but no one was taken into custody. Voitus said some people were issued a summons for misdemeanor charges and released while other charges are expected to be filed later.

Inside the homes, police reported finding crack cocaine.

Officers also removed large amounts of lawnmowers, snow blowers and other equipment that they say was stolen and used to barter for drugs. There were so many that officers ran out of evidence tags to tag them. They were taken to a storage facility where it will be seen if they can be reunited with their owners.

Voitus said the investigation was undertaken by the Vice Squad, violent crimes task force and the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force. The Mahoning Valley Crisis Response Team provided assistance to search and clear the homes.

Voitus said it is common for people in the drug trade to barter stolen goods for drugs. He said the dealers who take the equipment in then attempt to sell it themselves to get money.

Police Chief Robin Lees said the investigation that spawned the raids was only possible because of complaints in the neighborhood. Besides becoming a magnet for stolen goods, Lees said the homes were magnets for other types of crime, such as prostitution.

“It’s been a constant nuisance in the area,” Lees said. “We’re happy to shut it down.”

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