Three Harrison Twp. strip clubs have been raided tonight and several arrests have been made in a long-term investigation authorities said uncovered evidence of prostitution, drugs and food stamp trafficking.
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Agent-in-Charge Michelle Thourot, with the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Ohio Investigative Unit, said OIU agents, members of the Range Task Force and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office executed search warrants at three liquor permit premises:
- The Harem, 5825 North Dixie Drive,
- The Living Room, 3830 North Dixie Drive,
- Sharky’s, 6028 North Dixie Drive
- 34 people are facing felony and/or misdemeanor charges
In all, 140 criminal charges have been filed.
Some arrests have been made and some of the indictments have been served, Thourot said.
Agents also filed 166 administrative violations against the liquor permit premises and more administrative and criminal charges are possible as the investigations continue, she said.
(UPDATE @ 11:30 p.m.):
All three strip clubs were raided at once, at 6:15 p.m.
Thourot said she was part of the raid at the Harem, where there was a large crowd, but could not speak to how busy the other two clubs were because she wasn’t part of the raids there.
The other two clubs were allowed to open once agents left the premises, she said, but agents were still at the Harem at 10:30 p.m. because it is the largest of the three businesses.
No more raids are planned at this time, Thourot said, but the investigation continues.
She said the overall OIU investigation, which includes tonight’s raids, began in January. Law enforcement operations at one club led to the next, she said.
Thourot declined to estimate the quantity of drugs or cash or EBT cards law enforcement seized in tonight’s raids. (The Electronic Benefits Transfer card is used in the distribution of food assistance benefits).
Those details about the raids are likely to be discussed at a news conference scheduled for Friday afternoon, she said.
The administrative case will be presented to the Ohio Liquor Control Commission at a later date. Possible administrative penalties include fines, suspensions, or revocation of the liquor permit.
OIU is charged with enforcing the state’s liquor laws and is the only state law enforcement agency specifically tasked with investigating food stamp fraud crimes.
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