New 'Padlock Law' meant to keep drug dealers out

 Police have a new tool in fighting drug dealing across Michigan.

Officers padlocked a house where two people were allegedly dealing drugs in Ypsilanti Township.

The now-padlocked house was raided twice by the Washtenaw Sheriff's Office for heroin and cocaine. The two people living there are charged with felonies for maintaining a drug house.

As for the house itself, it is locked up thanks to a new law meant to keep neighborhoods safe. It is the first to be locked up under this new law in the entire state.

It's called the "Padlock Law" for a reason - drug dealers literally locked out of their home.

"I don't know anyone right now that wants to live next to a drug house," said Doug Winters, Ypsilanti Township attorney. "This has been the first one we have filed under the statute, we have other ones that will probably go in the weeks ahead."

Here's how it works, if you live near a suspected drug house you can call the city attorney or city council members and start the investigation. It then goes before a judge as a civil matter.

If the judge issues a padlock, the tenants or owners have to get everything out, winterize it and even maintain the lawn and snow removal - they just can't get in it.

"At the end of the nine months," Winters said. "You are going to do a better job of screening your tenants."

The idea is not to create a vacant house, but clean up the neighborhood.

Houses like the Ypsilanti residence can stay padlocked for up to a year.

The new law is also meant to crack down on drug-related crime like break-ins and shootings.
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