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228 S. Royal Avenue targeted by 2nd law enforcement operation in 7 months

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The targeted building from across South Royal Avenue near the South Towne Apartments – Royal Examiner Photos/Roger Bianchini

A multi-jurisdictional law enforcement raid descended on a residence at 228 South Royal Avenue in Front Royal at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, July 9. Neighbors from the apartment complex across the street said it was the second law enforcement operation targeting the building within seven months.

One neighbor pinpointed that initial raid, mirroring the latest operation, to December 13, 2018, at 6 a.m.

Units from the Front Royal Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Office and plain clothes officers believed to be with the Virginia State Police were all at the scene Tuesday evening. FRPD gave VSP Officer Tony Fox as a contact person for information on the operation. “Members of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force executed a search warrant Tuesday evening (July 9) at a residence in the 200 block of South Royal Avenue in Front Royal. The search warrant is related to an ongoing task force investigation. Charges are pending related to the investigation.”

Above, the SWAT transport moves in; below, an FRPD officer stationed at the front entrance – SWAT Photo/Mark Williams

Neighbors said a SWAT team vehicle approached the targeted address from an alley to the west of South Royal and through the South Towne Apartments parking lot immediately after FRPD units blocked off South Royal Avenue at Prospect Street and Stonewall Avenue.

They reported two flash bang reports coming as officers used a battering ram to bust through the front door of the residence, with a third bang being heard from inside about two minutes later.

The SWAT vehicle was seen departing the scene by way of an alley behind buildings on the 200 block of South Royal Avenue to the east at 8:49 p.m. A sheriff’s office K-9 unit approached the building from the rear shortly after the SWAT team departure.

A K-9 unit officer approaches the building from a side entrance porch at 8:52 p.m.

Witnesses said law enforcement used a battering ram to enter the front entrance of 228 S. Royal Ave. The targeted address lies between the Phoenix Project Domestic Violence Center and Rick’s Auto Care; over which the moon was rising as the operation continued past 9 p.m. Tuesday evening.

The targeted structure sits between Rick’s Auto Care at the intersection of Prospect Street and South Royal Avenue and The Phoenix Project Domestic Violence Center to the north. Thus far unverified information indicates that 228 South Royal is a rental residence, owned by one of the nearby businesses. Royal Examiner is attempting to verify that information, as well as any charges filed in the wake of Tuesday’s law enforcement operation.

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Crime/Court

Front Royal man sentenced for role in Baltimore-Front Royal heroin pipeline distribution conspiracy

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Nikolai Hall-Andujar, of Front Royal, Virginia, was sentenced yesterday to 46 months in prison for his role in a heroin distribution conspiracy that brought hundreds of grams of the drug from Baltimore to Front Royal between 2015 and 2018. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Field Division made the announcement today.

“The scourge of heroin and other illicit drugs entering the Northern Shenandoah County community has caused pain, addiction, and death for years,” First Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar said today. “Eradicating these potentially lethal substances remains a top priority for law enforcement and I am grateful to the Drug Enforcement Administration and all the agencies involved in the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force for continuing to embrace the challenge.”

“The effect that heroin has had on our communities and families across the DMV has been devastating. The sentencing in this case, along with the help of local and federal agencies across the DMV, is to be commended for the impact it’s had on communities across Maryland, DC, and Virginia,” Special Agent in Charge Fong said today. “The DEA Washington Division is dedicated to continuing combatting this deadly problem for our area by taking dangerous criminals and organizations like this off our streets and combatting drug trafficking across our area.”

According to court documents, Hall-Andujar, who previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin, was part of the “Chris” heroin distribution organization based out of Baltimore. Between summer 2015 and spring 2018, Hall-Andujar was responsible for distributing no less than 400 grams of heroin to individuals in Front Royal and Winchester.

Hall-Andujar obtained quantities of heroin ranging from 4 to 5 grams at a time, every other day, and sometimes up to 10 grams, from the “Chris” pipeline in Baltimore. Once the purchase was complete, Hall-Andujar returned to Front Royal and Winchester to use and redistribute the heroin he obtained.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Winchester Office, the Front Royal Office of the Virginia State Police Northwest Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, the Baltimore City Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Frederick, Maryland Sheriff’s Office, the Loudoun County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office and the Howard County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Ronald M. Huber prosecuted the case for the United States.

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Local arrest made after purchasing pickup truck with fake check

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On June 1, 2020, David S. Twigg Jr. was arrested for using several forged and one fake check to purchase a 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Pickup Truck from a local Auto Dealer. Information obtained as part of this investigation has implicated Twigg in similar scams in West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and other parts of Virginia. A record check of Twigg returned an active arrest warrant out of Norfolk Virginia for a larceny charge.

If you have information on this individual, please contact Investigator Jeremy Seabright at 540-635-4128.

Photo courtesy of Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

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Sunday night house fire ruled arson – occupant charged

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On Sunday, May 31, 2020, at approximately 10:20 pm, the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services was dispatched to 121 E. 14th Street, Front Royal, for a reported residential structure fire.

Fire, Rescue, and officers from the Front Royal Police Department arrived at the scene and observed an active fire in the basement with a significant amount of smoke coming from the doors and windows of the first floor. Firefighters initiated a rapid search of the residence and determined no one was trapped inside the home. The fire was quickly extinguished, however, the residence was rendered uninhabitable with an estimated $80,000 in damages. One of the occupants of the home has received assistance from the American Red Cross.

An investigation by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire was caused by an act of arson and requested assistance by the Front Royal Police Department Criminal Investigations Division.

As a result of the investigation and consultation with the Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office, Lauren T. Roberts, a 33-year-old Front Royal resident, has been charged in connection with the fire incident. Ms. Roberts has been charged with a single felony count of Virginia Code § 18.2-77 Burning or destroying a dwelling house. Roberts was transported to the Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Warren (RSW) Regional Jail where she was held without bond. The court date for this offense is on July 28, 2020, at 9 am in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Lauren T. Roberts. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact Fire Marshal G. Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or Detective M.R. Ramey with the Front Royal Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 540-636-2208.

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Linden resident strikes pedestrian with vehicle, charged with malicious wounding

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In the evening hours of May 12, 2020, the Front Royal Police Department responded to the intersection of East Stonewall Drive and Bee Street for a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. The victim, 54-year-old male, Dale Potter, was quickly located by first responding officers and transported by Warren County EMS personnel to Warren Memorial Hospital for initial treatment. Potter was then flown to Winchester Medical Center for treatment of serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

From the initial investigation, it was discovered the victim was intentionally struck by a passenger car driven by Avery Bailey because of a physical altercation in the minutes prior. Bailey, a 21-year-old Linden resident, fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle at an alternate location. The vehicle and Bailey were located shortly thereafter by FRPD with the assistance of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

Avery Richard Bailey. Photo courtesy of RSW Regional Jail.

Avery Bailey has been charged with malicious wounding (18.2-51) and was transported to Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail where he is currently being held without bond. The court date for this offense is set for June 30, 2020, in Warren County General District Court.

This investigation is on-going and anyone with any further information is asked to contact Detective M.R. Ramey at (540) 636-2208 or by email at mramey@frontroyalva.com.

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Town Talk: A conversation with Captain Jeff Holzbauer and Lt. Robbie Seal; watch out for scams, counterfeit money

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In this Town Talk, we’ll have a conversation with Captain Jeff Holzbauer and Lt. Robbie Seal from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Seal is the Community Resource Officer and Captain Holzbauer is in charge of the Patrol Division. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division has the primary law enforcement responsibilities of providing a wide range of services and to initiate a proactive approach when assisting the community.


Lt Seal brings us information on COVID-19 scams in our community. Captain Holzbauer ask for help from the community on two individuals wanted in connection with passing counterfeit money in the County.

The Sheriff’s Office is looking for the following individuals:

Cyrus Bartholomew Fiel, a 31 years old, white male, 5’10”, 160 lbs, red hair, green eyes. He has multiple warrants out for his arrest: Probation Violation, Dangerous Drugs, Forgery of US Currency.

  • Wanted out of Strasburg Police Department for Dangerous Drugs
  • Wanted out of Front Royal Police Department for a Probation Violation
  • Wanted out of WCSO for Forgery of United States Currency

Fiel and other accomplices have allegedly been making counterfeit United States currency, $10, $20, $50, $100. Two arrests have been made in this case already and more charges are pending.

Lekeshian Jones

Lekeshian Jones, 33 years old, black female, 5’3″, 180-200 lbs. She is from the Trenton, NJ area. Jones has been identified as one of two females that passed $760 in counterfeit $20 at Walmart in Front Royal on April 11, 2020.

If you have any information, please contact Investigator J. Seabright jseabright@warrencountysheriff.org or call the mail number of the Sheriff’s Office (540) 635-4128

Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com

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One vehicle accident downs power lines to Royal Village Wednesday afternoon

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Town crews work to clear the scene of accident taking down Town power pole near intersection of Kendrick Lane and Massanutten Avenue. Royal Examiner Photos/Mike McCool

The power into Royal Village was interrupted early Wednesday evening as a result of a traffic incident. Town Director of Energy Services David Jenkins responded to Royal Examiner’s request for information on the situation early Thursday morning. Below is the full text of his reply:

“The Energy services department received an online submittal that the power was out in the W 11th St area. a crew was dispatched and upon arrival they found that a vehicle had struck a utility pole that feed’s directly from our Kendrick Lane substation and snapped it off. The crew than began to clear and isolate the primary wire and pole that was on the ground and then proceeded to get the power back on by transferring the loads to another circuit that feeds from our Manassas Avenue substation.

Work on the downed power pole and lines

“The pole that was struck also had underground primary feeder attached to it as well. We called in our Public works department for a backhoe to dig up the damaged wire. A contractor for CenturyLink had to be called in to repair the phone lines.

“Power went off at 6:41 pm

“Power back on at 7:27 pm

“Number of customers affected 931”

The involved vehicle is removed from scene

Information gathered at the scene by Royal Examiner staff indicated the driver of the involved vehicle may have fled the scene on foot.

By late morning Thursday, Front Royal Police Captain Crystal Cline confirmed the arrest of Artavia Michelle Price-Bey for DUI, Property Damage over $1000, and Failure to Maintain Car Insurance, regarding the incident. Price-Bey was transported to RSW Regional Jail and booked into the facility at 9:26 p.m. Wednesday evening. She was released Thursday morning at 11:52 a.m.

Artavia Michelle Price-Bey upon booking into RSW Jail just prior to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night. Courtesy Photo/RSW

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