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West side food mart's liquor license in jeopardy after undercover investigation

WLWT Cincinnati logo WLWT Cincinnati 4/15/2019
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An East Price Hill food mart is being accused of selling crack pipes and being a hotbed for community crime.

During Monday's Law and Public Safety meeting, Cincinnati police presented findings from their undercover investigation of the Warsaw Food Mart.

From liquor violations, to the sale of drug paraphernalia, the Cincinnati Police Department is asking that Warsaw Food Mart's liquor license be taken away based on the department's undercover investigation.

" said, 'I want to buy a crack pipe.' The manager there had prepackaged the materials together and provided them as a kit to the informant," said CPD attorney Mark Manning."In the past five years there have been 643 calls to the police, with 81 criminal offenses, including six felonious assaults and 96 arrests, including 38 drug offenses."

According to CPD, last year there were 146 calls to the police at the mart, which included 20 arrests, nearly half of which were drug related.

"The owner, through some degree, is facilitating it through the sale of crack pipes at this location," Manning said.

Warsaw Food Mart's attorney says the owner has presented a nuisance recovery plan

"We sat down with them and said what do we need to do to make this thing better.The gas station is usually open for 24 hours; now we are open for limited hours," Warsaw Food Mart's attorney said.

The owner says they've encouraged CPD to patrol late at night, and have more lighting and no loitering signs installed.

"Everyone deserves to make things right. That is the problem, that we have to give a little advanced notice," Warsaw Food Mart's attorney said.

Patti Hogan, from the Price Hill Community Action Team, says the organization has spent a lot of time on Warsaw.

"This has been back since 2012. If they have an action plan in place, why are we still getting pictures of problems on that lot?" Hogan said. "The activity that you see here has contributed to the decline of our neighborhood. They contributed to the decline of our neighborhood. They are bad neighbors.

The committee recommended the case go to Columbus.

"I am very interested in Warsaw changing.When you see things like this it is just alarming to me. I just want to be honest with you," Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman said.

Police also presented pictures of men pointing guns outside the Warsaw Food Mart in the daylight while shooting a music video. The photos are another piece of evidence.

READ MORE:West side food mart's liquor license in jeopardy after undercover investigation

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