TABC Investigation Leads to Closure of Several Permian Basin Bar - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

TABC Investigation Leads to Closure of Several Permian Basin Bars

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Staff Report
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - A three-year undercover operation has led to the closure of several bars in the Permian Basin. They include Goodtime Lounge and Sandy's Lounge in Fort Stockton, Cash's Bar in Pecos and Archway Club Bar & Grill in Monahans.       

Below is the press release from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission:

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) Odessa Office has concluded a three-year undercover operation that resulted in multiple permits being cancelled. One of the permits, Goodtime Lounge (BG156159) just recently went before a judge with the State Office of Administrative Hearings who recommended cancellation, although the bar's attorneys are seeking an appeal. The other three permits were canceled in early 2012: Sandy Lounge (BG650053), Cash's Bar (BG678216) and The Archway Club Bar & Grill (BE730139). The operation, which began in May 2009, spanned most of the Permian Basin and areas as far away as El Paso, Austin and San Antonio.

Undercover TABC Agents entered these locations, purchased narcotics and witnessed a variety of other violations which involved employees of the establishments. TABC obtained 24 Federal Indictments which involved 11 people and two of the bars. The indictments were for Conspiracy and Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. TABC also filed cases with the District Attorney's offices in the Cities of Pecos and Monahans for Delivery of Controlled Substance and one Misdemeanor case for Criminal Conspiracy. These cases resulted in eight felony charges. Most of the people charged with crimes were employees of these licensed locations or had been introduced to the Undercover Agents by employees. "It should be noted that during these operations, the undercover agents went into several other licensed locations and did not find any violations," said TABC Agent Ronald Swenson. "TABC knows that it is a just few bad actors committing offenses, while the majority of the alcohol industry operates in compliance with the laws."

TABC shared intelligence and networked closely with the following law enforcement agencies: Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety - Criminal Investigations Division, United States Attorney's Office - Alpine, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Border Patrol - Intelligence Division, United States Marshals Service, Fort Stockton Police Department, Pecos Police Department, Monahans Police Department, and the Texas Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts. "Without these other agencies and the ability to share intelligence, we would not have had such successful operations," stated Agent Swenson.