3 local businesses raided, padlocked

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Knox County's DA continued his attack on nuisance businesses Tuesday, closing three corner stores simultaneously and locking up 7 people on various drug charges. Cops tell me Central Convenience Store on the West Side was a magnet for crimes like hooking, robbery, and even kidnapping. Records show more than 600 9-1-1 calls to the business since 2008.

King's Market in Lonsdale was the scene of three shootings. Undercover cops reportedly caught on tape rampant dope deals.

On the South Side at Speedmart Deli, cops say owners not only served up sandwiches, but drugs also, even suggesting addicts "snort" over other methods.

"I don't like it because this is the only store I can go to," said a customer at Speedmart.

Michael Grooms runs a garage next door. He said, "well, they seem like nice people. I never had no trouble out of them."

Before, nuisance raids were applauded. This time not so much. "It's just ridiculous. I don't even know why the police would come down there. It's harassment," said Melanie McAllister, a neighbor of Central Convenience.

Since last summer the Knox DA has shut down six busniesses under the so-called nuisance law. "Any kind of operation that is going to allow on-going criminal activity in the neighborhood can expect to see us one of these days," said special prosecutor John Gill.

Store owners are due in court July 18th to explain to a judge why their businesses shouldn't be closed for good.

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