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Man evicted in deal with drug panel

Jerome Magwood must leave his home because of an agreement Tuesday between his mother and a city board specifically designed to fight neighborhood drug-sale problems. Police say Magwood never has been convicted of drug sales or possession at the home. And he does not live in a city-regulated housing project.

But because of a special agreement between police and his mother, who owns the house, he will have to leave.

Tampa Police said they filed the case against Ruth Magwood because she is accountable for what happens on her property.

Mrs. Magwood said she does not live in the house, but she acknowledged that drug problems existed on her property.

The city's Drug-related Public Nuisance Abatement Board was formed in November. It handles complaints from residents and agencies about property at which illegal drugs are sold.

It has the power to order that drug sales cease at a business or home and to close a business. However, the law does not give the board any enforcement powers such as the right to fine property owners.

"Nobody understands the powers of this board," Ms. Rochelle Reback, a civil defense lawyer. "It's sad to think these citizens are being held before these boards with the threat of losing property, or businesses or family relationships."

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