November 30, 2011 at 5:49 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gays arrested; police seize crystal meth, cash in Shaw raid

Members of the D.C. police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit assisted officers with the First District police Vice Unit in a Nov. 23 raid on a house in the city’s Shaw neighborhood that resulted in the arrest of two men on drug-related charges.

A police charging document identifies the two men as boyfriends and police sources said drugs found in the house were identified as crystal methamphetamine.

Neighbors reported that police used a battering ram to force open the door of the house at 901 S St., N.W., as nearly a dozen police cars arrived on the scene. Witnesses said police later escorted two men in handcuffs out of the house and into a police car, where they were taken into custody.

A police complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court says police charged Nicholas H. Fittro, 27, with unlawful possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office said the office dropped a similar charge against the second man arrested at the house, Justin W. John.

A police affidavit in support of Fittro’s arrest says police “received information that an individual named Nicholas Fittro was selling methamphetamine from inside his residence located at 901 S Street, N.W. Based on that information Officer M. Fanone obtained a D.C. Superior Court search warrant…to search the entire premises.”

The affidavit says officers forced their way into the house after the two occupants didn’t respond when police knocked on the door and announced in a loud voice that they had a search warrant to enter the premises.

“Once inside, officers encountered Nicholas Hilliard Fittro and Justin Wayne John who were standing in the living room,” the affidavit says. “Mr. Fittro was identified as the lease holder for the property and Mr. John was identified as his roommate and boyfriend. Both individuals identified bedroom #1 as being theirs,” the affidavit says.

It says a search of the bedroom and other locations in the house turned up 12 separate items deemed relevant to the case. It says the first item, found in a metal cabinet drawer in the bedroom, was a “clear plastic bag containing approximately 11.3 grams of a white crystal substance, a portion of which field tested positive for amphetamines.”

The affidavit says various quantities of the same white crystal substance that tested positive as a form of amphetamines were found in three other locations in the house. It says police also found, among other items, a “black digital scale and silver cup containing a white crystal residue,” $2,511 in cash, and an undisclosed amount of foreign currency and money orders.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office said the office never discloses its reasons for dropping charges against defendants. But the police affidavit in support of Fittro’s arrest says Fittro later waived his Miranda right to remain silent before consulting with an attorney and “claimed ownership of the contraband which was recovered from inside the house.”

A law enforcement source who spoke on condition of not being identified said Fittro’s assertion that he was the party responsible for the drugs appears to have prompted the U.S. Attorney’s office to dismiss the charge against his boyfriend.

Marie Haldane, Fittro’s attorney, said neither she nor Fittro would comment on the case at the present time. The next court hearing on the case is scheduled for Dec. 14 in Superior Court.

Court records show that Fittro was released on his own recognizance while awaiting trial.

Josh Riley, an addictions specialist for Whitman-Walker Health, said crystal meth use and abuse remains a serious problem within the city’s gay male community. LGBT community leaders across the country have long called for stepped up programs to address crystal meth use within the LGBT community.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Another couple of bright shining examples of the gay community…

  • Crystal meth is a drug that has a strangle hold on the gay community, particularly gay males. It is a drug that seems to be tribal, libidinous and a perfect mix for men who are suffering from feelings of loneliness, isolation, and low self esteem, many with no home or familial support. I hate to say this, but it seems that sometimes, getting caught by the police and suffering the consequences becomes a wake up call that may save their lives. I hope these guys realize that hurting themselves with it, and others whom they seem to have had enough to distribute the crystal to, is just damging our community, and not providing the party they would like to believe. The Tweakers Proejct will always exist in one form or another to lend support, safer sex kits for free and places to find solutions for recovery.
    Jimmy Palmieri
    Founder, The Tweakers Project,
    West Hollywood Human Services Commissioner

  • It’s not just for hillbillies anymore.

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