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After Raid, Bar May Lose License

Undercover agents arrest four people after allegedly buying drugs at a rowdy Azusa saloon, which now faces a state hearing.

October 07, 2003|Michael Krikorian | Times Staff Writer

An Azusa bar where undercover agents allegedly bought drugs during a three-month investigation now faces possible suspension or revocation of its liquor license, authorities said Monday.

State agents and Azusa police raided Semag & Strops in the 600 block of East Arrow Highway on Friday and arrested four people, said Carl DeWing of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Among them was bartender Michael Donald Lackey, 47, of Covina, who allegedly sold methamphetamine to the investigators and assisted in the purchase of drugs from patrons, DeWing said.

Also taken into custody was Cruz Padilla, 72, of Azusa, who allegedly sold crack cocaine. Authorities who searched Padilla's nearby house found more drugs, DeWing said.

During the investigation, undercover ABC agents bought methamphetamine, marijuana and crack cocaine on four occasions, DeWing said.

According to DeWing, Azusa police officers have been dispatched to the bar more than 200 times in the past few years to deal with reports of fights, assaults, drug dealing and drunken customers.

The state is now asking that the bar's liquor license be suspended or revoked. A hearing will be held within two months by a local district for the ABC.

"The range of penalties could be a suspension for 30 days all the way up to revoking the license," said DeWing, from Sacramento. "There also could be a stayed revocation where the bar could stay open, but if there were any further problems, the license would be revoked."

The owner may appeal any decision, DeWing said. Meanwhile, the bar, whose name is "Games and Sports" spelled backward, remains open.

"If their liquor license is revoked," said DeWing, "and their livelihood is liquor and they can't sell liquor, I'm sure they will appeal."

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