The Harem loses liquor license after investigation of prostitution, drug trafficking

(File photo: WKEF/WRGT)

HARRISON TWP., Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - A Harrison Township night club that had already been ordered to shut down for a year has lost its liquor license. The Ohio Liquor Control Commission made the decision on Thursday to revoke The Harem's liquor license.

In November of 2017, a judge ordered the strip club to shut down for a year. The club, which was the subject of an investigation that spanned from January of 2017 through September of that year, was found to be a spot for prostitution, drug trafficking and illegal use of food stamps. During the investigation, undercover agents reported they were able to exchange more than $1,700 worth of food stamps for drugs including fentanyl, carfentanil, cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription drugs and marijuana.

"We also were solicited by employees for prostitution,” said Agent-in-Charge Michelle Thourot

According to the Ohio Investigative Unit, in all, 114 criminal charges were filed, including 31 felony drug trafficking, three felony food stamp charges and 73 illegal sexual activity charges.

“ No, it’s not normal," Thourot told Fox 45's Shavon Anderson. "As a matter fact, we had over two and a half dozen employees that were charged and/or arrested.”

Montgomery County Judge Dennis Adkins ordered the club to be shut down saying it was "clear to the court that The Harem is out of control."

Barricades were put up outside the club on November 6, 2017 after it was ordered to close. Montgomery County Prosecuting Attorney Mat Heck Jr. issued a warning to other establishments that day, saying the action should serve as a 'wake-up call.' "If you do not operate within the confines of the law, we are going to shut you down," he said. The Ohio Investigative Unit says administrative cases against Sharkey's and the Living Room are still pending with the Liquor Control Commission.

Agent Thourot is thanking the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, the prosecutor and the R.A.N.G.E. Task Force for their help in the case. She said a majority of people who were charged are convicted.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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