Thursday, June 13, 2024

Carolinian Inn: DA takes first step in case against ‘Drug Town’

The Carolinian Inn on Market Street has been targeted by the district attorney and Wilmington Police as a nuisance hotel. (Port City Daily photo/BEN SCHACHTMAN)
The Carolinian Inn on Market Street has been targeted by the district attorney and Wilmington Police as a nuisance hotel. (Port City Daily photo/BEN SCHACHTMAN)

WILMINGTON — New Hanover County on Friday took the first steps in cleaning up another “nuisance” motel on Market Street. District Attorney Ben David announced a temporary restraining order against the Carolinian Inn that prohibits any illegal activity on the property until a preliminary injunction hearing is held.

Friday’s order was issued by Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham against the property, listed as 2916 Market St. It is, according to the release, the “first step in a civil nuisance abatement case.”

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According to a press release from David’s office, the property owners were placed on notice in 2015 of a potential lawsuit if the hotel did not clean up what was happening on the property immediately.  However, the release states, efforts to work with the property owners Laxman and Hiri Odedra, on an agreement for them to clean up this property have been unsuccessful.

A list of illegal activities

An affidavit filed by Wilmington Police Lt. Stephanie Boucher lists a series of criminal activities that have occurred over a “considerable period of time.”

They include: Prostitution, done for money or drugs; the selling of heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine; and repeated breaches of the peace, including assaults, robberies, shootings “and other violent and disruptive acts.”

The Odedras are aware of the illegal activities, “but are unwilling or unable to prevent them from occurring,” the affidavit states.

Boucher cites interviews with residents “in and around the community” around the Carolinian Inn in the affidavit.

Boucher further cites testimony given to her by recovering drug addicts who said they frequented the hotel to buy or use drugs. Likewise, prostitutes have also told Boucher they frequent the hotel to work for cash or drugs, the affidavit states.

At one point in the affidavit, Boucher wrote: “Because of the easy availability of controlled substances, the Carolinian Inn is commonly referred to as Drug Town.”

In addition to writing that Wilmington Police “routinely respond to the property in search of stolen cars and people who are wanted on various warrants,” Boucher also presented a list of police responses to the property dating back to 2011.

It lists 49 calls for such things as threats, assaults, drug overdoses, armed robberies, a rape and a shooting.

A ‘broken window’ in the community

Employees at the Carolinian on Friday declined to comment, referring questions to the owners they said worked the overnight shift. (Port City Daily photos/BEN SCHACHTMAN)
Employees at the Carolinian on Friday declined to comment, referring questions to the owners they said worked the overnight shift. (Port City Daily photos/BEN SCHACHTMAN)

“The DA’s Office is filing this suit in an effort to be responsive to citizen complaints,” David said. “Citizens who live or work near this property say violent and disruptive incidents in the area are constant because of the criminal element at the Carolinian Inn.  They don’t feel safe, and they shouldn’t have to tolerate that environment.”

“The Carolinian Inn is a ‘broken window’ in the community, but my office and the city are working together to try to solve this problem permanently,” David said. “This action is a last resort for us. We hope to still reach an agreement with the owners, but if not, we will proceed with whatever steps are necessary and available to make Wilmington a safer place to live and to visit.”

Employees at the hotel on Friday afternoon declined to comment, telling a reporter that the owners work overnight.

Read the affidavit in full:

 

 

 

 

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