Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS – More than three dozen people were arrested in an late Wednesday night raid that extended into early Thursday morning at a popular St. Roch area bar.
Police said they found some illegal drugs in the Sports Vue bar but that most of those arrested were fugitives or were arrested on outstanding warrants.
The NOPD called the raid a ‘compliance check’ and they said about 50 officers and drug agents entered the bar looking for drugs, weapons and wanted suspects.
“This is not uncommon,” said Commander Chris Goodley. “This is nothing that’s new within the department. We’ve always done compliance checks on bars.
Officers said they recovered 62 grams of marijuana inside the bar and that they found 29 fugitives. Other patrons were arrested for offenses ranging from probation violations to traffic warrants.
Goodley said there have been complaints about illegal parking and other disturbances at the Sports Vue.
“We've even has some recent documented incidents that stemmed from within the bar and escalated outside and turned into violent acts such as cutting and shootings at that place,” he said.
Bar employee Tommy Nash said he doesn’t know how the marijuana got into the club, but he claimed that bar security does a good job of checking for guns and underage drinking.
“All I can do is just make sure I do my thorough job, checking IDs and making sure they got no pistols,” he said.
The Sports Vue bar was the scene of a shooting two years ago where seven people between ages 13 and 17 were hit.
New Orleans businessman and political donor Carlton Charles owns the Sports Vue lounge.
The former pharmacist pleaded guilty in 2000 to illegally possessing narcotics with the intent to distribute.
The NOPD says the bar raid had nothing to do with the owner’s previous issues.
“This was strictly based on the amount of people that patronize the place as well as the complaints that we were investigating,” said Goodley.
Nash said he’d like to know when other clubs in the area are going to be checked.
“You got to hit them all,” he said. “Metairie, Jefferson Parish, don't just make an example of us, make an example of all of them.”