An Ohio strip club has lost its liquor license after undercover cops confirmed that the business was taking food stamp benefits in exchange for drugs and lap dances.
As WCMH-TV (Columbus) reports, undercover police officers spent months investigating chicanery at Sharkey’s Bar in Dayton. Using food stamp benefits instead of cash, the cops determined that they were able to pay for lap dances with the electronic benefits intended for poor families to buy food. What’s more, authorities were also able to buy drugs with the benefits. Specifically, undercover cops paid for heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, cocaine, methamphetamines – just over $2,000 worth – with food stamps.
Agent-in-Charge Michelle Thourot tells The Dayton Daily News that the strip club was a haven for drug trafficking.
“A lot of drugs were brought into that community because of that location. Children walk by there every day to go to school. For a place like that to be closed down, to not have people like that coming into the community, is fantastic for the kids and the people living in that area.”
Employees and patrons both were hit with criminal charges following the investigation. Those include drug trafficking, food stamp trafficking, aggravated shipment and distribution of heroin, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and illegal sexual activity. The nature of the “illegal sexual activity” was not specified.
Those are just the criminal counts. The Ohio Liquor Control Commission also levied 44 “administrative charges” – basically code violations – against the establishment. Similar to the criminal charges, those administrative charges include drug possession, drug sales, engaging in sexual activity, food stamp trafficking and solicitation.
It remains unclear how, exactly, the strip club was able to pull off its food-stamp hustle. Long gone are the days when food stamp recipients were issued paper coupons, and these days the entire process is done electronically. It’s not clear how a food-stamp reading machine was given to a strip club.
Meanwhile, Ohio’s Liquor Control Commission continues to use the revocation of liquor licenses as a way of dealing with “problem” strip clubs. For example, in May of this year, another Dayton strip club – The Harem – lost its liquor license due to food-stamp trafficking. Similarly, Dayton’s The Living Room lounge is also facing hearings into having its liquor license revoked, although it’s not clear why.
It was also at an Ohio strip club where Donald Trump accuser Stormy Daniels was arrested. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the adult-film actress was performing at Siren’s in Columbus when she was accused of inappropriately touching a patron. Charges were later dropped on a technicality.