2 local bars shut down for drugs, human trafficking, drink solicitation

(Phil Prazan / KXAN) 

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two Austin-area bars were shuttered Tuesday by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office on misconduct allegations. 

Club Casino located at 5500 South Congress and Zota’s Night Club at 4700 Burleson Road were shut after allegations of narcotics, drink solicitation, and human trafficking according to an agency press release. This move comes after a month-long multi-agency investigation. 

(Phil Prazan / KXAN) 

“This case is the result of outstanding police work on the part of TABC and our partner law enforcement agencies,” said TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles. “It also shows just how important it is for victims of human trafficking to make their voices heard.”

For the past few weeks, TABC investigators have been going into these bars undercover. The night of March 8th, officers went in, turned on the lights and searched every employee inside.

The agency spokesman tells me the officers saw drugs and signs of other crimes: like drink solicitation.

“Typically a bar employee. Most often a female. She will meet up with a customer and offer to spend some time with that customer as long as he buys her a drink. And that drink that the bartender sells to that customer for the lady is far more expensive than what it should be. That is a crime. That is also something we see in concert with suspected human trafficking and something that we take very seriously.,” said Chris Porter with TABC.

The two owners of the bar have not been charged with a crime yet. Investigators continue to investigate the allegations of human trafficking.

Deputies did arrest the DJ working at Club Casino, Manuel Chavero-Gonzalez, for having 44 bags of cocaine on him to sell.

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