East Knoxville business ordered to close for alleged activity

East Knoxville business ordered to close for alleged illegal drug sales, violence

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The Bi-Lo Market, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., was shut down around midnight. The Bi-Lo Market, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., was shut down around midnight.

KNOXVLLE (WATE) - An East Knoxville business was forced to close late Wednesday night after Knox County authorities deemed the convenience store a nuisance.

The Bi-Lo Market, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., was shut down around midnight after police reported receiving numerous complaints of disturbances and illegal transactions there.

City workers boarded up the building and no one is allowed on the property until further order of the court.

Authorities say since 2009 they've received more than 300 calls for service at the store. It has been the scene of several crimes, including assaults, burglaries and robberies.

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bob McGee issued a nuisance injunction to close the business after investigators made several purchases at the store of illegal substances.

"We were buying synthetic marijuana from them last month," said Assistant District Attorney Sean McDermott. "We made five separate purchases of synthetic marijuana and drug paraphernalia from the market. The calls of violence that I've eluded to have taken place since 2009."

In filing the complain the district attorney's office said Bi-Lo Market not only failed to take steps to stop the nuisance behavior, but encouraged and participated in the activities.

The store owners will appear in court on June 20.

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