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United States

Sharkey’s strip club in Ohio loses alcohol licence after it accepted food stamps for drugs and lap dances

Authorities charged club employees and patrons with a panoply of criminal offences

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 September, 2018, 9:25am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 September, 2018, 9:25am

In a strip club near Dayton, Ohio, food stamps were frequently accepted as payment for lap dances and illicit drugs, police said last week. An investigation resulted in criminal charges and the revocation of the establishment’s liquor license.

Over nearly a half-year span, police say, undercover agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit were able use nearly US$2,500 worth of food stamps to buy dances and drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamines, from Sharkey’s, an adult entertainment lounge in a neighbourhood north of downtown.

Authorities charged club employees and patrons with a panoply of criminal offences: drug trafficking, food stamp trafficking, aggravated shipment and distribution of heroin, corruption and illegal sexual activity.

State officials announced the revocation on Thursday, marking the second time since May that they have cited a Dayton-area strip club for food stamp and drug trafficking.

The first involved an establishment called the Harem, which is only about a block from Sharkey’s.

The enforcement actions come almost one year after agents executed search warrants at three of the city’s strip clubs, including Sharkey’s and the Harem.

Those warrants, executed in September 2017, also resulted in citations for drug sales and food stamp trafficking. It was not immediately clear whether Thursday’s announcement was connected to last year’s investigation.

In 2017, the Dayton Daily News reported, the local county prosecutor asked that a judge shut down the Harem, calling it “a sex and drug den”.