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Drug Dealing, But No Meth Lab, Found At West Ridge Social Club Raided By Police, Alderman Says

Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) said law enforcement told her office the Western Avenue social club showed no indications of a meth lab on the site. 

The social club building at 6948 N. Western Ave. will be demolished soon, according to Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th).
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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WEST RIDGE — The West Ridge storefront social club raided by law enforcement last month did not show signs of drug manufacturing on site, the neighborhood’s alderperson said Friday, contradicting a city inspection report that mentioned a “meth lab” at the building.

Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) said law enforcement told her office the social club at 6948 N. Western Ave. showed no indications of a meth lab on the site. 

The Sun-Times, citing a building inspection report, said building inspectors found an “open meth lab” inside the social club when it was raided by local and federal authorities in early February.

The building was quickly demolished after the city inspection and raid. At the time, city officials said the building’s immediate demolition was ordered because it was “severely structurally compromised.”

Some of those structural issues are outlined in the city’s buildings inspection database. But a written copy of the Department of Building’s inspection of the Western Avenue building obtained by the Sun-Times include the inspector’s comment: “open meth lab busted.”

Evidence of drug dealing was found at the site but there was no indication of drug manufacturing there, Silverstein said. A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Buildings would not confirm a meth lab was found in the structure.

“Department of Buildings (DOB) inspection reports are intended to record the state of the structural, mechanical, and fire protection components and systems; proper occupancy use; or zoning use of a building or structure,” city spokesman Cesar Rodriguez said in a statement. “Extraneous comments regarding potential law enforcement activity are not meant as any official observation or determination by DOB.”

Two people were arrested in the raid on the social club.

Credit: Shamus Toomey/Block Club Chicago
Demolition crews tear down the building at 6948 N. Western Ave. that officials allege was used for gambling and drug dealing.

The raid took place Feb. 8, when local, state and federal law enforcement searched the business known as JNG, which had been the source of community complaints for months.

In a message to constituents, Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) said the business was raided for suspected drug dealing, gambling, prostitution and fraud. Two shootings have been tied to the business, she said.

A 34-year-old man was charged with one misdemeanor count of keeping a gambling place in connection to the raid, police said. A 36-year-old woman was charged with one felony count of possession of less than 5 grams of methamphetamine and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Those charges have since been dropped, according to the Sun-Times.

The investigation city officials to issue 15 citations against the business.

Silverstein declined to comment further on the social club, saying the investigation into the operation remains open. 

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