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Orange Mound business declared a public nuisance

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After a lengthy investigation by the Memphis Police Department's Organized Crime Unit, an Orange Mound business has been temporarily closed as a public nuisance.

"We have received numerous complaints of drugs being sold at this location," said Michael Hardy, MPD's deputy chief of special operations.

OCU agents raided A-1 Speedy Corner Thursday morning, bringing in a drug-sniffing dog, putting a padlock on the front door and hanging up signs to let customers know it's closed for business.

Detectives launched an official investigation into alleged criminal activity at the convenience store in September 2016, after the department received multiple complaints about drug sales, prostitution and underage drinking.

"It’s about time someone pays attention," said neighborhood resident James Miller. "It’s going to curb it [crime], but you know what’s going to happen? They’re just going to go to another corner."

An MPD press release stated that between June 2015 and May 2017, officers responded to more than 185 calls at or near the store in regards to robberies, prostitution, shootings, people with weapons and other disturbances.

During their investigation, detectives said they arrested 139 people within a mile and a half of the store and 18 people on the property, including one homicide arrest.

Undercover agents even took part in drug buys from people inside the store with employees present.

One store employee is also facing charges for selling drugs, Hardy said.

The results of the investigation were handed over to the Shelby County District Attorney's Office in July and a public nuisance order was issued Wednesday.

"With everything going on the way it is now, it’s kind of good to see some kind of action in the community," said customer Arzel Oatis.

But the store owner, who refused to give WREG her name, insisted she’s the one who has made the majority of calls to police, trying to put a stop to the crime.

“Yes, it is unfair," she said. "It’s not inside my property. Outside, I put already signs everywhere."

The owners will be in court August 15 for a hearing, when a judge is expected to determine whether to permanently close the store or re-open it with restrictions in place.