DC AG sues 2 stores, settles against another, over gun, drug crimes

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has sued the owners of two District businesses, and settled a lawsuit with the owners of another one, claiming they were nuisances due to rampant drug use and violence around all three locations.

Racine’s office said in a statement Tuesday that the attorney general had sued Power Fuel and Transport Real Estate Holding, the owners and operators of the Exxon gas station at 4665 South Capitol St. SW and the tobacco and grocery store next door at 4675 South Capitol St. SW, saying that they haven’t heeded warnings or advice from Racine’s office and the D.C. police about steps they can take to stem drug and violent crimes.

The lawsuit says that the D.C. police have responded to three shootings and made 11 arrests for drug distribution in and around the gas station this year so far. At the store next door, there have been two shootings inside the store, including a homicide. The store has also been the site of drug use and sales, the lawsuit said.

Since May, a D.C. police car has been at the two businesses 24 hours a day.

“Children and neighbors are afraid to walk in the area,” Racine’s office said in the statement; the businesses are within 1,000 feet of the Statesman Academy for Boys and Ingenuity Prep, making it a drug-free zone, Racine’s office said in a statement.

The District is looking for the court to force the owners to make security changes and pay damages for each day since they were put on notice.

Racine’s office also announced a settlement with Capitol Petroleum Group, Anacostia Realty, Upshir Stop and One Florida Acquisition, the owners and operators of a gas station at 1 Florida Ave. NE, which the attorney general said has also been the site of shootings and drug activity.

The station, which is also within 1,000 feet of a school, has been the site of many gun and drug crimes, Racine’s office said, including a murder and undercover police drug purchases. In one case, they said, a child bought and used drugs at the gas station and had to be taken to a hospital.

The owners are planning to close the gas station, Racine’s office said, but until then they will hire security guards and install lighting and cameras, according to the statement.

All the suits were brought under the D.C. Drug-, Firearm-, or Prostitution-Related Nuisance Abatement Act. You can read the law, read the two lawsuits and read the settlement.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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