Club 152 on Beale Raided, Shut Down by District Attorney

Club 152 on Beale Raided, Shut Down by District Attorney

Club 152 on Beale Street was shut down by the District Attorney's office Thursday afternoon, after an undercover operation revealed illicit drug sales by club employees.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The raid happened so fast that Stu Ellis, visiting from Australia, didn't have time to finish his beer.

"Guys came in with their administration papers and said manager come here...blah blah blah, and that was it," said Ellis.

Club 152 on Beale Street was shut down by the District Attorney's office Thursday afternoon, after an undercover operation revealed illicit drug sales by club employees.

"They all walked in in force and they basically just said, 'We're shutting the place down,'" said Joe, who declined to give his last name.

Investigators say undercover officers purchased illegal drugs on at least 10 occasions since November, such as marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drugs like Percocet and Xanax. Among those accused of selling drugs include four club security guards and a VIP host.

"I wish that I could say that I was, but unfortunately I am not shocked about it," said Chloe Brewer, who estimated she's been to the club 25-30 times.

Memphis police records show more than 130 calls to 911 from Club 152 from January 2012 to April 2013, with at least 20 of those calls involving fights.

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich issued a nuisance petition for the popular downtown hot spot, which was signed by Judge Larry Potter. Officers closed down the club around 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 16.

"The WTDTF (Western Tennessee Drug Task Force) agents are to be commended for their hard work in this investigation," said WTDTF Director Tim Helldorfer. "The drug activities at Club 152 occurred in front of management and in some instances by employees at the club. This is unacceptable."

The club's owners are scheduled to appear in court on May 20. Paperwork filed with the state show the listed owners as Gerald Chittom, Charles Ryan, Kevin Kane and William 'Rusty' Hyneman. Kane is the President of the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau; just weeks ago, Kane and several other investors abruptly pulled out of a deal to open a restaurant at Beale Street Landing.

The raid occurred ahead of what promises to be a busy weekend in downtown Memphis.

Weirich defended the timing of the raid.

"We don't pick our timing, we pick, we have to do what we have to do based upon the evidence and based upon the information that is presented to us," she said.

Several felony arrests are expected to stem from this raid, but so far there is nobody in custody.
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