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Charlottesville woman arrested after drug bust at Rose Hill duplex

A search warrant filed in Charlottesville court indicates that it was an undercover purchase of crack cocaine that precipitated a Tuesday raid in the city’s Rose Hill neighborhood leading to the arrest of 55-year-old Shena Marie Bowers.

“The transaction was audio and visually recorded and the bought product was returned to [me] and later field tested positive for crack cocaine,” wrote the detective who obtained the search warrant.

The raid was conducted at 901 Charlton Ave., a boxy duplex at the intersection of Charlton and Rose Hill Drive. The building has served several commercial purposes: a restaurant in the 1940s, a doctor’s office in the ‘50s and ‘60s. But the most recent commerce that authorities allege was occurring there may have been illegal.

Standing outside the building the morning of the raid, Charlottesville Police Chief Michael Kochis praised law enforcement authorities for responding to what he said were neighborhood concerns about drug trafficking and related gun violence.

“We’ve had a few shootings actually right here on this block,” Kochis told the media. “The residents have been very clear to us that they want something done about it.”

Jordan Weethee, an Albemarle County police detective, was the author of the search warrant affidavit. He wrote that he was looking for guns, cash and scales at the property, as well as “owe sheets,” the ledgers that might direct investigators to other consumers and wholesalers of illegal drugs.

When he obtained the warrant on Feb. 15, Weethee had been conferring with a “Source A,” an informant who made the taped crack cocaine purchase.

However, when Weethee filed the warrant in the Charlottesville Circuit Court on Tuesday, the day of the raid, there was no inventory attached. And according to the criminal complaint, Weethee may not have found all that he was seeking.

“She was alone in residence,” Weethee wrote in his criminal complaint. “Inside the residence was a small baggie of a white powder substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.”

The raid was conducted by a multijurisdictional group called the 3A Regional Drug and Gang Task Force that brings together the resources of the Virginia State Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and local agencies. The operation also brought an armored vehicle and several other vehicles to Charlton Avenue Tuesday morning, closing the road to through traffic.

And while the initial state police statement announcing the operation claimed that Bowers had been charged with drug distribution, The Daily Progress found that the arrest warrant that Weethee obtained charged Bowers only for simple possession. While this is ranked as a Class 5 felony, because the cocaine is federally classified as a Schedule II drug, it’s the second softest of the commonwealth’s six felony categories, and court records show that a magistrate allowed Bowers to be released on a cash bail of $2,000.

Court records also show that Bowers has a prior conviction on the same charge. In March 2022, she received a three-year sentence with all time suspended after she completed provisions mandated by the Charlottesville drug court.

Bowers is no stranger to accusations of doing too much in her apartment. In late January, she lost an eviction proceeding that removed her from a previous residence on 7 1/2 Street. According to court records, her nonprofit landlord, Community Services Housing, filed to evict her after receiving noise complaints and “several reports of excessive and suspicious traffic around your apartment.”

Bowers, who moved to Charlottesville from Portsmouth several years ago, faces a hearing on her possession charge in Charlottesville General District Court on April 4.


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