WEST RIDGE — A West Ridge social club accused of drug dealing and illegal gambling was raided by local and federal authorities Tuesday.
Chicago Police and multiple federal agencies searched the building at 6948 N. Western Ave. Tuesday evening, according to officials. The search came after months of law enforcement “investigating community concerns and criminal activity” at the establishment, Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) said.
The agencies raided PGN Inc. for an investigation regarding drug sales, illegal gambling operations and fraud, said Elisa Sledzinska, spokesperson for the city’s office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protections.
The investigation led city officials to issue 15 citations against the business. Sledzinska would not specify what the citations were for but said in a statement they “could include operating after a [cease and desist order] was issued, operating without a business license, and failure to abide by current Public Health Orders.”
Inspectors with the Department of Buildings determined during the search that the building was “severely structurally compromised” and issued an emergency demolition order, the spokesperson said in a statement.
Crews at the building fenced off the structure and were seen working on utilities at the site Wednesday.
Neighbors have complained about the business at community meetings and on social media, saying the establishment was suspicious and leading to violence in the area.
Residents have called in reports of shots fired near the business, local officials said at a January police CAPS meeting. A shooting in the early hours of Jan. 29 in the 6900 block of North Western Avenue may have also been tied to the social club, a source said.
At the CAPS meeting, neighbors said the business had its windows covered and that patrons were seen coming and going from the establishment at all hours of the day.
“There’s obviously bad things going on in there,” one neighbor said at the Jan. 4 community meeting held by the Rogers Park police district. “Twice I’ve walked over there. It looks like a flop house. There’s sheets and pillows shoved up against the window. It’s shady. You see young teenage kids going in there all day long.”
Local police officials said at the meeting the business was licensed with the city as a social club and got a license to host billiards tables. City records show the business was issued a license for retail sales of general merchandise and non-perishable food. The business name was listed as “JNG” in city records.
An officer with the Rogers Park police district said police were investigating neighbor’s complaints.
“I know its being talked about the last couple meetings,” the officer said. “Trust me on this one, it’s being looked into. I just can’t get into specifics.”
Chicago Police confirmed the search took place on a business in the 6900 block of North Western Avenue at just after 5 p.m. Tuesday but declined to comment further.
Federal agencies including Homeland Security assisted local police in the raid on the social club, Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) said in a social media post. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or ICE) was not involved and the investigation is not related to immigration enforcement, Hadden said.
Silverstein said in an email to constituents the investigation is ongoing and is a “rapidly evolving situation.”
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