Contents of alleged drug dealer's home auctioned off

Posted: July 04, 2008

While Marlon Abrahams cools his heels in cell block G1 of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, his allegedly marijuana-financed two-story East Norriton ranch house - and everything in it - is being sold off to benefit law enforcement.

That includes a lavish kitchen setup with indoor and outdoor stainless steel ovens, a $130,000 landscaping job complete with sprinklers and custom lighting, and other bought-with-cash home accoutrements.

Yesterday, items hauled out of the home were auctioned off, while the house that even a real estate agent called "overimproved" is being listed for a shade under $300,000.

The District Attorney's Office hopes to clear $150,000 after a mortgage and liens are settled, far more than its usual take from the more typical drug-forfeiture auctions of cars, or houses in blighted neighborhoods.

The drug dealing charges filed against Abrahams, 33, and his wife, Minnie McKay, remain pending, but drug laws allow authorities to seize assets believed to be connected with the drug trade even before a conviction. Rarely does that result in prosecutors selling a well-outfitted house on a quiet, tree-lined street.

"This is not typically the place we find ourselves," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Abrahams and McKay never lived in the home, Ferman said; it was being outfitted as a dream house as the drug money came rolling in. The house was bought in 2004 for $220,000 with a mortgage, while cash paid for a $60,000 pool and a $50,000 kitchen renovation, complete with high-tech appliances.

"It was meant to be a haven for" Abrahams and McKay, Ferman said. They also had addresses in King of Prussia and Norristown.

Court records allege the couple, along with a handful of others, were involved in a marijuana distribution operation that shipped dozens of pounds of drugs at a time from California to Pennsylvania for resale on the street. The arrangement allegedly went on for years.

The court cases against Abrahams - a native Jamaican also wanted by federal immigration authorities, jail records say - began last fall. McKay was charged in February. Neither of their attorneys returned calls yesterday.

Meanwhile, Sanford Alderfer Auction & Appraisal in Hatfield sold off the couple's four-piece king bedroom set for $2,700 and stainless steel Bosch washer and dryer for $800 each yesterday, senior sales manager Leonard Walter said.

"To me, it's absolutely the way to get the drug dealers when they get busted," Walter said during a break yesterday. "No slap on the wrist."

Emptied of furniture and newly listed, the house has attracted potential buyers, said Joseph Tarantino Jr., president of Continental Realty Co.

He estimated the house at about 25 years old, though the improvements put a newer veneer on it.

"Somebody's going to get a good deal," Tarantino said.


Contact staff writer Derrick Nunnally at 610-313-8212 or dnunnally@phillynews.com.

 

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