ABC Commission cracks down on violence and drugs at local clubs

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The state is cracking down on violence and drug activity at local clubs.

Last week, more than a thousand club owners across the state got a copy of a letter from the state's alcoholic beverage control commission that stated the commission will revoke ABC permits for "locations that attract, allow, or ignore ongoing violence."

Charlotte resident Yolanda Rogers supports the effort.

"I think we need the violence to stop in the community and I think it's a good idea," she said.

She believes crime at local clubs trickles out into neighboring homes and businesses.

Her daughter used to work at a restaurant near Mi Cabana on Eastway Drive. Her car was broken into last year.

"The police went directly over to the club, they were thinking it came from the club," Rogers said after the break-in.

Mi Cabana has a history of violence dating back at least five years. There was also a shooting there last month.

The goal of the ABC Commission is to stop problems at the source.

Commission Chairman Jim Gardner told Channel 9 the deadly shootings that killed a man at Cabaret 124 on Sept. 1 and the gunfire that killed a 22-year-old man in the parking lot of Sandalo's nightclub in June are unacceptable.

"We are not going to allow any of these clubs to operate like they have been in the past where we have violence almost every weekend," he said.

El Gavilan nightclub on Driftwood Drive is the first Charlotte club to have its ABC permit revoked under the ABC's new crackdown.

Two people were shot and one of them killed at the last month. Court records show the history of violence and drug use goes back to 2011.

But under this new effort, Gardner said the consequences will be harsh and immediate.

"If we see violations involving violence involving drugs we are going to move very quickly on it."

There are more than 180 private clubs in Mecklenburg County with active ABC permits.

The ABC chairman said state budget cuts have severely impacted the number of state ALE agents in the field investigating complaints. Gardner said his office will also relying heavily on local ABC boards to help enforce the crackdown.