Broward County

They may have looked like plain apartments. Police say a drug mall was inside

Some of the heroin police say found in the laundry room of 1842 McKinley St.
Some of the heroin police say found in the laundry room of 1842 McKinley St.

Hollywood police say they busted a hard-drug strip mall operating out of a McKinley Street apartment building less than two blocks from an elementary school.

According to a criminal complaint affidavit, undercover cops bought heroin in 1842 McKinley St., Apt. 1, heroin and crack in Apt. 2 and crack in Apt. 4. The confidential informant who told police that the dealers mixed the heroin with fentanyl said Apt. 5 was used to sell drug paraphernalia.

Police say they found 8.4 grams of heroin in the building’s laundry room, not operational and accessible only with a key held by resident Don Thurston. They say they also found 3.1 grams of marijuana and three fake handguns.

All this occurred within a short walk of Avant Garde Charter Elementary School, 2025 McKinley St. Police say they learned users were shooting up drugs on school grounds and leaving the used needles behind on the ground.

Arrested Thursday were Thurston, 34; Emmanuel Creed, 25; and Antonio Brown, 47. Thurston faces the most charges: four counts of delivering heroin within 1,000 feet of a school, trafficking in heroin, more than four grams but less than 14 grams, possessing a structure for the purpose of drug trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia and violating his probation for a 2016 cocaine possession conviction.

Creed was charged with two counts of moving cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school and marijuana possession. Brown was charged with possession of heroin within 1,000 feet of a school.

The five-apartment building is owned by Hollywood’s Jay Shore. Shore went into pretrial intervention in 2013 after an arrest on possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Charges from a 2014 arrest on heroin possession and cocaine possession were dismissed.

The city of Hollywood is looking for Shore anyway to serve a summons on him in a lawsuit covering unpaid fines for trash removal ($108) and tire removal ($130). With daily penalties since the fines were levied in 2010 and 2011, respectively, the amount owed mushroomed by last July’s filing to $127,650 and $205,250.

Police said they made eight undercover buys from October through February. After the arrests and the reading of rights to remain silent, the affidavit says, Thurston offered to cooperate. He said he would tell them where the drugs were kept if police would call his girlfriend to pick up his dog and a few other items.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal