The  Jackson  County, Missouri  Prosecutor's  Office, under COMBAT, has enacted the Drug Abatement Response Team (DART) program which concentrates on closing down those properties where illegal drug activity has occurred.  Note that all types of property  can  become  the  subject  of  a  DART  investigation  -  commercial, owner-occupied, and rental - thus no property owner is immune from having drug activity on their property.  The following is a brief summary of how DART program operates:

1. Confirmation of illegal drug activity:    The first step in the DART process is the confirmation of illegal drug activity on a property.  Confirmation usually takes one of two forms, either narcotics were purchased from someone on the property or a search warrant  was  executed  which resulted in the seizure of narcotics.    Thus DART  does  not  become  involved  simply because someone has complained that there  is  a  drug  house  in their neighborhood.  Only after the police confirm drug activity through their own investigation will DART take action.

2. DART Inspection:   After drug activity has been confirmed, the  DART  team will then conduct a follow-up inspection of the property.  This inspection is conducted pursuant  to  existing  city  ordinances  and  utilizes these ordinances to post the property thus closing it to the public. Once the property has been posted, anyone entering  onto  the  property  is  subject  to  arrest  and  can  be  prosecuted  for trespassing.  After the property has been posted, the owner of the property may petition the city for a work access permit which will allow them to enter onto the property and correct whatever code violations exist on the property.   The  DART team's primary interest in applying these laws is not to harass good landowners, but rather,  to  see  that  the  drug  activity  which  is  occurring on the property ceases.  Stopping the drug activity ensures that the property will be once again used for lawful purposes and allows for the neighborhood to recover.

3. Drug  Activity  Warning  Letter:   Once drug activity has been confirmed on the property, the DART team sends a letter to the owner of the property.   This letter informs the owner that drug activity has occurred on their property and that they should take immediate action to ensure that the activity  ceases  -  for  example, evicting the tenant.  If you receive a notice letter from the DART office, you should contact that DART team immediately at  (816)881-3883  and tell them what action you plan to take.  In addition, they should be able to answer some of the questions your  may  have  regarding  the  scope  and nature of the activity discussed in the letter.   If the tenant should challenge an eviction proceeding, the DART team can assist you in compiling "proof" that the property was used for illegal purposed.

4. Forfeiture:  If drug activity is occurring on a property and a landowner knows about the activity and does nothing to correct the problem,  then  Missouri  law allows the  DART  team to petition a court to forfeit the property to the State of Missouri.  This remedy, however, is generally used only as a last resort and after a landowner  has  refused  to  correct  the  problems  that  are  occurring on their property.

Keep in mind that,  while it is valuable to know how the  DART program operates, if you are actively managing your property you will rarely come into contact with the DART  team.     If  you  are  screening  your  tenants  and  enforcing  your  lease agreements, then it is unlikely that the DART team will ever be needed to solve a problem  that  is  occurring  on  your  property.   If DART does target one of your properties, however, know that their sole interest is yours - to see that the activity ceases and that the tenants move on.