Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Waynesville landlord, 73, faces drug peddling charge

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer


WAYNESVILLE - In a case that could give new meaning to the phrase "high-rent district," a 73-year-old landlord is accused of selling cocaine to his tenants.

A retired engineer, William A. Heriot, who lives in a $300,000 house on O'Neal Road, faces a cocaine-possession charge - and remains under investigation for prostitution and other criminal activities at some of his rental properties, authorities said Tuesday.

"The landlord is definitely making money off of trafficking cocaine to his tenants ... and there were other things going on," said John Burke, commander of the Warren-Clinton Drug & Strategic Operations Task Force.

Heriot was selling significant amounts, Burke alleges, because he told undercover officers he was willing to buy four ounces of crack cocaine - enough to get dozens of people high. That amount of cocaine would have a street value of at least $10,000, Burke said.

Heriot was arrested Monday after he allegedly purchased an ounce of crack cocaine from an undercover officer at a single-story brick apartment building that Heriot owns on Chapman Street.

Heriot appeared Tuesday in Warren County Municipal Court on a felony cocaine-possession charge that carries a mandatory sentence of three to 10 years if he is convicted, plus a $20,000 fine.

Authorities in Warren and Montgomery counties have been investigating Heriot, who owns numerous apartment buildings and complexes, because of alleged drug trafficking and prostitution operations in and on his real estate, Burke said.

Three weeks ago, Waynesville police provided a tip about Heriot to Burke's agency, said Waynesville Police Chief Ken McCloud. He described Heriot's two rental properties in the village - the Chapman Street address and another at Main and North streets - as well-kept buildings. The case shows that even Waynesville, known for its antiques shops, isn't immune to illegal drug sales, McCloud said.


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