- The Washington Times - Monday, September 25, 2000

The Community Dollar Store on South Capitol Street SW looks like any other small shop in the area, but it's a focus of police scrutiny in a crack-cocaine investigation.
District of Columbia police raided the store at 1225 S. Capitol St. on Sept. 8 and found 53 small bags of crack in the pocket of shop owner David L. Geter, according to an affidavit by a 1st District police officer.
"The def[endant] moved his right hand into his left front pocket. The def[endant] refused to remove his hand from his pocket but struggled until he took a plastic bag containing many smaller black plastic bags of white rocks," the affidavit states.
"Some of the rocks were thrown to the floor and counter top of the location," the affidavit states. "Recovered … from the floor, counter top and def[endant]'s front pocket were fifty-three ziplocks of crack cocaine."
Geter, who has a long arrest record, was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and is in jail awaiting a court hearing.
"They've got to do something to support the Dollar Store, because they can't make any money in there," said D.C. police Sgt. G.G. Neil, who helped organize the raid. "So that's what they've been doing selling drugs."
"How bad can it be in the community when a business is selling drugs?" he added.
Informants have told police that narcotics have been sold in the store over the last two years, Sgt. Neil said.
Geter's court-appointed attorney, Mona Asiner, calls the charges against her client "ridiculous."
"There's no evidence he sold [drugs] out of that store," she said. "If you print that, you do so at your own risk."
Ms. Asiner said the area in general and store in particular have been under video surveillance by police, but prosecutors have not notified her of any evidence stemming from the surveillance.
As for the crack that police said they found in Geter's pocket during the raid, Ms. Asiner said, "I can't address that, and I'm not even acknowledging there was crack in his pocket."
She added that Geter "is a pleasure to represent."
A woman who answered the phone at the store yesterday referred questions to Geter's wife, who would be available later, the woman said. Later yesterday, a woman who answered the store's phone said Geter's wife is "out of town, and I don't think she'll want to do no story."
The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which has the authority to shut down a business, is not involved because police closed the store last year, an agency spokesman said.
The store reopened late last year, community leaders said.
Geter, 41, was arrested on a charge of cocaine possession in June last year and pleaded guilty in October. He was sentenced to 180 days in a work-release program, with 150 days suspended, court records show.
Police officials familiar with the investigation say Geter continued to manage his drug operation during his 30 days in a halfway house.
Records show a string of other arrests: 87 going going back to 1979, and nine during last year alone. Most were for drug, weapons, assault and theft charges. Prosecutors declined to charge him on most of those.
He has 13 convictions, all stemming from guilty pleas. For most of those, the judge sentenced him to time served, records show. The longest sentence Geter received was two years for a grand-larceny conviction in 1980.
Sgt. Neil said he's not surprised a judge has never thrown the book at Geter and sentenced him to any serious prison time.
"Unfortunately, [drugs are] a plague in the community, but not enough of a plague to send this guy away for 20 years to life," he said.
"We deal with this every day in the system. We lock them up, and then they get out," he said. "This is what they pay us to do, so we do it."
Sgt. Neil said Geter must not yet fit the criteria for the "three-time loser" law, which adds extra prison time to criminals convicted of three major felonies.

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