Alexandria Police are investigating a claim that a woman’s drink was drugged at Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge on the waterfront.
The woman filed a police report after the incident, which allegedly occurred on the evening of July 9 — the same night as the fireworks for the city’s birthday celebration. The woman reported the incident on NextDoor, and said she was sitting in the walkthrough area next to the Torpedo Factory Art Center when it occurred.
“I enjoyed a couple of Orange Crushes, scrolled on my phone and watched the crowd,” the woman reported. “I can’t tell you much of what happened after that, besides knowing now (Google maps tracker) that I miraculously walked the couple of blocks back to my apartment. My fiance returned home from work to find me a step inside of my apartment on the floor. I was unable to talk, stand, or remain conscious. I have complete amnesia of any of the events from receiving my last drink forward.”
The woman, who says she is a registered nurse, wrote that her condition persisted for 10 hours or so, that she did not go to the hospital and instead contacted her primary care physician.
“I am usually pretty aware of my surroundings,” she wrote. “I cannot tell you what happened, why, or anything like that, though I wish that I could. It is very highly unlikely that I had left my drink alone outside to go inside to the bathroom, etc. But it seems the only explanation is that something was slipped into my drink.”
The owner of Vola’s told ALXnow that they are working with police. He said no one has alleged any employees did anything wrong and that what occurred is still unclear.
The annual community-building campaign brings the Alexandria Police Department, Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office and other City agencies into communities for cookouts as part of a nationwide crime and drug prevention effort.
Previous National Night Out events have brought McGruff the Crime Dog, Spider-Man and other celebrities to cookout locations, along with quick visits from elected officials and other city leaders.
The event was founded by the National Association of Town Watch in 1984. The celebration was postponed last year due to the pandemic, and now more than 20 Alexandria neighborhoods will host block parties, cookouts, and ice cream socials from 5 p.m to 9 p.m.
Alexandria Police are actively investigating a harrowing incident that occurred earlier this month in a room at the Days Inn/Super 8 hotel at 110 S. Bragg Street in the West End.
On May 8, police responded to a report of a sexual offense against a woman in room 381. Once at the scene, police found a large blood trail outside the hotel room that continued along the third floor.
The woman told police that “she has been engaging in prostitution in order to afford her drug addiction of heroin,” according to a search warrant affidavit. She said that she met a client via a MegaPersonals ad posted on the internet, and that the man became violent while they had sex for money.
The woman said that she screamed for a man who she pays 20% from her income, and told police is her “protection”. The man burst into the room and a fight ensued. At one point one of the men was injured by a large knife, although just who held the knife was unclear in the affidavit and police would not comment on the matter.
The woman told police that “she thought someone was going to get murdered,” and that she was renting the room from another patron of the hotel staying down the hall in room 378. In that room, police found a small plastic bag with a white powder substance, two syringes and a spoon. She also said that she wanted to talk with the man who arranged the MegaPersonals ad, and police found the man’s contact information in her phone under the name “My King”.
Police could not confirm what the substance was in the bag, or if any charges or arrests have been made. None of the suspects have been booked in the Alexandria jail, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s an active investigation of a felonious assault in a room at a hotel at 110 S. Bragg Street that left a man with a laceration to his head,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow.
A 34-year-old Arlington man was charged with distributing methamphetamine after reporting to police that he was the victim of an armed robbery in his fifth floor room at the Embassy Suites in Old Town.
On March 24, at around 7:15 a.m., Alexandria Police responded to a 911 call and met the suspect in the lobby. He told police that he’d just been robbed of money by a man with a knife in his room. He also said that a backpack belonging to a friend of his was stolen.
The officer asked if there was anything illegal in the room, and the suspect reportedly said, “There is some meth in the room, but it’s for personal use,” according to a police search warrant affidavit.
In the room, the officer found a clear bag, inside of which was a glass pipe. The officer asked the suspect what the pipe was for, and he reportedly said it was for smoking methamphetamine.
Later that day, officers searched the room and, in the safe, found 144 grams of suspected methamphetamine, marijuana and thousands of dollars. They also found digital scales, empty plastic bags and “numerous” syringes in a desk drawer, “one of which contained an unknown suspected narcotic liquid while the others appeared to be empty,” according to police.
The suspect was booked and released later that day on his own recognizance. The man suspected of robbing him at knifepoint was not arrested.
What an eventful week in Alexandria.
Thursday, March 11, marked the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic in Alexandria. As the vaccine rollout slowly improves, the most recent news is the allowance of restaurant workers to get the vaccine. Just over 38,000 doses have been administered in the city, and of that 14,661 residents have been fully vaccinated. The city also wants 80% of residents vaccinated by July 31.
Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne also announced that he will not seek reelection this fall, bringing an end to his 43-year law enforcement career. Lawhorne’s protege Sean Casey is now running for the seat in the June 8 Democratic primary.
Criticism against the proposed renovation of the Taylor Run Stream continued this week, and even City Councilwoman Amy Jackson has decided to join residents in opposition.
More than 220 people participated in our poll this week on school resource officers. More than half of respondents said that ACPS should hire more SROs, 30% said the program should be eliminated and 11% believe SROs should only work part time.
In case you missed them, here are some other important stories:
- Child Safe After Being Left in Car That Was Briefly Stolen in Arlandria
- Alexandria Takes Stock of Millions in Lost Sales Tax Revenue
- Beyer Throws Weight Behind Labor Unions as Council Punts Collective Bargaining Debate
- Civic Activist Bill Rossello Focusing on Overhauling City Government in City Council Campaign
- ‘Groundswell’ Art Installation Pays Homage to History, Coming to Waterfront Park this Mont
Our top stories this week:
- Inova to Launch New Vaccine Clinic Inside Revamped Victory Center
- Battle Royale: Princess Street Development Duel Returns to City This Month
- Just In: Captain Sean Casey is Running for Alexandria Sheriff
- Alexandria Police Arrest Seven People and Seize Drugs, Guns and Cash
- Development Questions Remain for New Braddock West Project Headed to City Council
- City Could Help Turn Hotels Emptied by Coronavirus Into Affordable Housing
- Just Listed in Alexandria
- Do You Like the Suggested Names for T.C. Williams and Matthew Maury?
- A Year Late, Contractor Eyes Spring Completion for King Street Metro Access Improvement Project
- Superintendent Proposes New Names for T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary
- Councilwoman Amy Jackson Argues With School Board Over MacArthur Elementary Construction Schedule
Have a safe weekend!
Alexandria Police arrested seven people and seized $158,000 in cash, guns and drugs last week, as part of an ongoing investigation that resulted in eight search warrants being executed in the region.
Police would not reveal the identities of the suspects arrested or any further details, and only listed what was seized in a Friday press release. Seized items included:
- U.S. currency totaling $157,997
- 27 pounds of marijuana
- 11 firearms (including three semi-automatic rifles)
- Drug-packaging materials
- Prescription pills
- Cell phones and computers
- Two money counters
- 16 grams of suspected cocaine
“We want to commend the excellent planning, execution and police work of everyone involved,” said Police Chief Michael L. Brown. “This is just one example of the Alexandria Police Department working to ensure the safety of our City and community.”
ALERT:: The Alexandria Police Department executed 8 search warrants on Thursday morning, successfully taking guns, money and drugs off the streets. Read more here: https://t.co/eDkinkDF8Z
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) March 5, 2021
Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, will be isolated from the general population for a month in the Alexandria jail, in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.
The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office has a contract with the U.S. Marshals to house inmates in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, and other details of Coronel’s stay have not been released, such as whether she will be secluded from other inmates after the month.
The 31-year-old Coronel was arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport on Monday and made a video appearance U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia the following day. She is accused of participating in his escape from prison in July 2015, planning another escape before he was extradited to the U.S. in Jan. 2017, and is being charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and marijuana, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“She is under our COVID protocols, which is standard procedure for new intakes,” Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne told ALXnow. “This protocol went into effect in March 2020.”
Per the Sheriff’s office, Coronel will be held in seclusion for two weeks, then moved to another unit for another two weeks. The Sheriff could not comment as to whether she will be distanced from other inmates after that period, although Chelsea Manning reportedly spent her stay at the jail apart from the general population.
Photo via Alexandria Sheriff’s Office
After 16 months in operation, the Alexandria Drug Treatment Court has its first graduate. The program, which the Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney’s Office started with little funding, also just got a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
The Treatment Court launched in September 2019 as an alternative to jail for individuals with substance abuse issues. Most participants have been to jail multiple times. Participants usually meets every Thursday in the Alexandria Courthouse, although the building at 520 King Street is largely shut down now due to COVID-19 and meetings have been held virtually.
Program graduate Kim Christian (not her real name) entered the five-phase program in Nov. 2019 and graduated in a virtual ceremony ahead of schedule, as two years is the program average. She regularly met with a case manager, a probation officer, participated in recovery programs and regularly checked up with the court.
Commonwealth Attorney Bryan Porter said the virtual ceremony was a moving experience.
“One of the most wonderful things about the ceremony was the fact that the graduate, for the first time, had people within the criminal justice system trying to help her achieve something,” Porter told ALXnow. “The graduation ceremony was a true testament to the power of the program, and making a change.”
The new funds will allow Porter to triple the program for up to 30 participants, hire a full-time bilingual therapist, and also hire a treatment court coordinator to take administrative duties off the plate of David Lord, the assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney who has largely led the effort. Drug testing for participants will also be expanded.
Porter said it will take six-to-nine months to hire the new staff and expand the program. In the meantime, he said, the program will be slowly ramped up to increase the number of participants.
“The idea is to try to finally put some resources into them to kind of break that cycle of addiction and then recidivism,” Porter said. “One graduate is great, but we need more graduates.”
The City of Alexandria is urging locals to become acquainted with overdose treatment as cases rise both statewide and locally.
“The Virginia Department of Health’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reports that 2020 may be the worst year on record for fatal overdoses in Virginia,” the city said in a press release. “Preliminary figures from the second quarter of 2020 indicate a 66.8% increase in fatal drug overdoses in Virginia from the same period in 2019, suggesting a possible correlation with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The city release liked the increase to collective stress from the COVID-19 pandemic. The city urged residents engaging in substance abuse to seek treatment and recovery programs offered by the city.
“The City and the Alexandria Community Services Board offer an opioid treatment program, the Alexandria Residential Treatment Center, mental health and substance abuse residential services, outpatient treatment for substance use disorders and a Narcan-by-mail delivery program,” the city said.
The total number of fatal overdoses has increased in Virginia from 1,626 in 2019 to 2,053 just in the first half of 2020.
“Of those, 1,701 were related to opioid related overdoses,” the city said, “with 474 related to prescription opioids and 1,498 related to fentanyl, heroin, or both.”
There were 69 opioid overdoses in Alexandria in 2018, of which eight were fatal. In 2019, there were 73 opioid overdoses, of which 14 were fatal. As of November 30, 2020, there have been 85 opioid overdoses, of which 13 were fatal.
The city said residents can get access to Narcan, which can help someone experiencing an overdose, for free by mail.
“The drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can save the life of someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose, if given in time,” the city said. “Any Alexandria resident can obtain Narcan by mail for free by emailing their name and address to [email protected] or pick up a dose of the easy-to-use nasal spray by calling the Alexandria Health Department at 703.746.4888 or the City’s Opioid Response Coordinator at 703.746.3326. Narcan is also available at pharmacies without a prescription.”
Staff photo by Airey
Alexandria is warning residents that toxic marijuana laced with “unusual substances” has led to four recent overdoses in Prince William County.
“One person died, and the other three were revived with Narcan (naloxone), suggesting that the marijuana may have been mixed with opioids,” the city said in a release. “While use of any illegal drug is dangerous, City officials are urging residents to be especially cautious given these recent overdoses.”
There have been 10 fatal opioid overdoses in Alexandria this year, and 62 non-fatal overdoses as of August 25, according to the city.
Virginia decriminalized marijuana on July 1, and there is a civil fine of $25 for possessing up to an ounce.
The Alexandria Health Department offers Narcan for free by calling 703-746-4888, and the medication will be shipped for free for residents who contact the city’s opioid response coordinator at [email protected]
According to the city:
If you or someone you care about needs help with addiction, call 703.746.3636 (Virginia Relay 711), 24 hours a day. Individuals who do not live in Alexandria can find treatment options at samhsa.gov or by calling 800.662.HELP (4357).
If you have information regarding past overdoses, call the Alexandria Police Department at 703.746.4444.
For life-threatening situations, call or text 911 immediately.