Indian Americans abuse liquor store license for drug trafficking in New Jersey

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The license of Johnnies Liquor Store in Bellmawr, New Jersey has been revoked by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, as it was part of a drug trafficking network.

The owners of the store Indian Americans Jalat Patel, 46; Rakesh Patel, 43, and Dhananjaya Patel, 48, all of Somerdale, were arrested in May 2016 after they were caught with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), distribution of a CDS and distribution in a school zone, after a three-month long investigation, according to a Patch.com report.

The three brothers’ store was used as part of a drug trafficking ring, the Division of Alcoholic Beverages Control found in a Final Conclusion and Order issued on October 4.

According to authorities, narcotics were sold out of the Laundromat across the street from the liquor store.

During the investigation, an undercover detective bought drugs that authorities say, the dealers often retrieved from the liquor store.

Officers executed a search warrant at the liquor store on March 26, 2016, and found 368 narcotic pills including 259 of the opioid drugs Oxycodone, Roxicet, and Tramadol, from a private office in the back of the store, along with $13,732 in cash and other items, according to a Patch.com report.

The Patels did acknowledge their participation and allowed the use of their licensed premises as part of the drug trafficking network.

In 2017, the Division’s Enforcement Bureau charged the brothers with 12 violations of ABC regulations that prohibit illegal drug activities on licensed premises and sought to revoke their liquor license stating that they were “acting in a highly egregious, injurious and irresponsible manner” and abused their privilege of holding an alcoholic beverage license in New Jersey, ordering the revocation of Rakesh, Inc.’s license.

Under the terms of the Final Conclusion and Order, all three brothers are ineligible to hold or receive any other alcoholic beverage license of any kind or class for a period of two years and were admitted into a pre-trial detention program, reports say.

Rakesh’s charges were dropped after the completion of the program and the other two brothers have also completed the program but there is no information as to whether their charges have been dropped.

Two other people Dominique Green, 27, and Armando Rosario, 59, both of Bellmawr, were also arrested and charged with their roles in the operation.

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