Marco's Grocery closed down - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Marco's Grocery closed down

May 30, 2008

Albany - The Albany City Commission pulls the business license for a store that's been busted three times this year for drugs and illegal alcohol sales.

Store employees were so used to selling dope from behind the counter, they offered it to undercover informants, even when they didn't ask for it.

The building at 715 South Madison doesn't look much like a convenience store. Ward 3 commissioner Morris Gurr says he doesn't think it was very convenient for the people who live in the neighborhood either. "I think it was more convenient for those who were looking for drugs," he said.

On three separate occasions this year, agents with the drug unit found alcohol for sale, even though the owner, DeMarco Malone didn't have an alcohol license. Agents also found stolen guns and marijuana behind the counter, packaged in small bags ready for distribution.

"When it comes down to me selling liquor the first time, I am guilty of that. Selling alcohol without a state license the first time, I am guilty of that. I haven't been paying my sales taxes, I am guilty of that. That's another reason to close me down," Malone admitted.

Malone said even though he knew people who came in the store were doing drugs, he couldn't turn them into police. "Those are my friends. I was raised in that neighborhood. Those drug dealers bought me shoes, clothes, coming up, helped my momma pay her light bill, her rent and those are my friends."

The counter where candy was sold is the same counter where drug agents say they found drugs, alcohol and even guns.

Malone says even though he broke some rules, he didn't know his employees were selling dope in the store.

Gurr is just happy Marco's is no longer in business and thanked people in the neighborhood for calling and complaining about what was going on inside. "I applaud the neighborhood for continuing to report activity that's happening there. That was my encouragement to them and they're really to be applauded, not fleeing the neighborhood, but saying let's clean up the neighborhood."

And City Manager Alfred Lott hopes Mr. Malone will follow suit and clean up his life as well.

"This guy is 22-years-old and he can be salvaged, I think, if he makes the right decisions in life. If not, he's on course for a long prison sentence in my opinion," Lott says.

Malone is currently facing charges for carrying a concealed weapon.

The license revocation is immediate, so Marco's Grocery is no longer in business. Malone will be able to remove his belongings from the store, but he cannot sell them from that location.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=MarcosShut-KC-5/30

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