Gas Station Closed As Nuisance
(Memphis) Ask just about anyone in this Southeast Memphis neighborhood and they’ll tell you the same thing.
“You need weed, you need drugs, you need pills, whatever you need this BP’s got it,” Demetrius Price said.
The drug sales apparently so rampant at the BP station on the corner of Mendenhall and Knight Arnold, that a Shelby County judge declared the property a public nuisance.
“It was a nuisance to many people,” Vernon Carter said.
Most people, like Carter, who stopped by the convenience store Thursday were relieved to see chains on the door, and signs explaining why it was shut down.
“Each time you come through here you are going to see blue lights no matter what time of day,” he said.
Over the last year police responded to dozens of incidents of aggravated assault, robbery and illegal narcotics.
The gas station owner has pictures posted of some of the criminals on the store’s windows.
“I feel bad that he had to close his shop down for that because he tries to run them off,” Oreail Dunlap said.
But court documents show undercover agents not only watched drug sales, but bought drugs inside this store in front of employees.
Outside the store investigators say gang activity is rampant.
Police say gang members would loiter outside and throw up gang signs.
“They stand all up there right there in front of the door and everything it’s just scary,” Racquel Fortney said.
Investigators said this gas station and the nearby Aspen Woods apartments sit at the intersection of gang territory between the Avalon Crips and Vicelords.
Just last week a man was murdered at the apartment complex.
“Trouble is everywhere around here,” Fortney said.
That was apparent Thursday afternoon.
While News Channel 3 was at the gas station, police took down two suspects accused of stealing a car right next door.
So people who live here hope this closure opens up a new opportunity to their community.
“I hope it brings a positive outlook to this area,” one man said.
The owner of the property, Sohail Hemani, could not be reached for comment. He will make his case to the judge on October 14th.