A home in the White Oak Farms area of Dover has been vacated after Kent County Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. declared it an ongoing nuisance. The property, located at 310 Eisenhower Drive, now has a large sign in the front yard warning all trespassers away. The home has been raided three times since March 2005.
A home in the White Oak Farms area of Dover has been vacated after Kent County Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. declared it an ongoing nuisance.
The property, located at 310 Eisenhower Drive, now has a large sign in the front yard warning all trespassers away.
The city took action against the home and its residents, Earl F. Stoneking Jr., his brother, Arthur Lee Stoneking and their sister, Nadine Stoneking, following three drug raids, said Dover Police Department spokesman Lt. James Hosfelt. The property is thought to be in Earl Stoneking’s name.
Police worked with the state attorney general’s office to seize the home under the 6-year-old Drug, Nuisance and Social Vices Abatement Act, he added. The legislation allows law enforcement authorities to go through the courts to confiscate properties where repeated violations of drug and other laws, such as anti-prostitution ordinances, take place.
Records show Dover Police used search warrants to raid the Stoneking home on suspicion of ongoing drug activity in March and September 2005 and again in February 2008. Nadine Stoneking was arrested each time, while Arthur and Earl each were arrested twice.
Police seized marijuana, cocaine, drug paraphernalia and 13 firearms over the course of the three raids. An additional 26 people were arrested on similar charges, some after they came to the residence to allegedly buy drugs while police still were inside.
“We had at least seven people come to the door to buy drugs,” Hosfelt said of the March 2005 incident. “My undercover officers acted as if they were selling drugs and we made those arrests as well.”
A check with the Department of Correction shows Nadine Stoneking now is serving three years at the Baylor Correctional Institution, while Earl Stoneking is on probation. Arthur Stoneking’s status is not known.
Jason Miller, a spokesman for the state attorney general, said the seizure process begins with a written warning that alleged illegal activities must stop.
“We send a notice of the violations to property owners and in most cases, they take action voluntarily,” Miller said. “If not, we file a civil lawsuit to force compliance.”
That lawsuit results in a trial where a judge can order a temporary seizure to be followed by a hearing to see if the property may be confiscated permanently.
A similar case now is being processed on a home on South Governors Boulevard in Capitol Park, also for drug-related reasons.
There are four property seizure cases making their way through Delaware courts, Miller said, although there have yet to be any permanent hearings scheduled, including the Stoneking case.
If a judge approves the case, the owner loses title to the property, which then can be sold, with the profits going to a state anti-crime fund.
In the meantime, police have changed the locks on the Stoneking property and are keeping an eye on the place, Hosfelt said, adding that anyone caught on the property faces arrest.
Email Jeff Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.