AUSTIN (KXAN) — A long criminal investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has forced three Austin bars to close their doors.
The three bars are:
- La Movida Night Club Bar & Grill, 2538 Elmont Drive
- Los Cocodrilos Bar, 9601 I-H 35 North
- Perikos Bar, 1611 Dungan Lane
According to TABC, special investigators determined the bars trafficked drugs and participated in ‘drink solicitation,’ which is described as being when a “licensed business’ employees offer to spend time with a customer if that customer purchases a drink for them at a marked-up price.”
“One of TABC’s primary missions is keeping the public safe, so we view closing these locations as a win,” said Capt. Ron Swenson of TABC’s Special Investigations Unit. “Selling narcotics out of a licensed business and/or engaging in drink solicitation are serious crimes which can lead to any number of public safety as well as public welfare concerns. Closing these bars is one of many tools in our toolbox when it comes to upholding public safety.”
The fine for solicitation is up to $1,000 or a year in jail, possibly both.
Investigators said they witnessed additional violations at the bars on April 20 which led to the immediate cancellation of the permits necessary to operate an alcohol-based business.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and U.S. Homeland Security agents are investigating possible connections the bars and their owners may have to organized crime.
In March 2012, nine bars and nightclubs owned by Yassine Enterprises were closed after being raided by state and federal agents for connections to money laundering, firearms and drug trafficking. Hussein Ali “Mike” Yassine and his brothers, Hadi and Steve, were found guilty of the charges and are currently spending time in federal prison.