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Message sent: Business busted for illegal operations

Posted: April 30, 2009 10:31 p.m.
Updated: May 1, 2009 4:55 a.m.

An undercover officer from the Alcohol Beverage Control Police, left, and Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Department Lt. Steve Low post a notice of license revocation at Smoke-N-Cerveza in Newhall Thursday.

The run of a Newhall business connected with illicit activities was ended Thursday by California Alcohol Beverage Control agents.

The liquor license issued to the Smoke-N-Cerveza was pulled effective Thursday, Enrique Alcala, supervising investigator for the Alcohol Beverage Control Police, announced. Agents posted the notice of revocation in the window of the abandoned storefront in the 22900 block of Lyons Avenue.

The Smoke-N-Cerveza shop, which specialized in smoker's water pipes and alcohol sales, came under fire from law enforcement in August 2008 when Gerard Tamayo, an employee of the business, sold drugs to an undercover Alcohol Beverage Control Police officer.

The business, which was licensed to sell alcohol, also operated illegal slot machines, allowed patrons to illegally consume alcohol on the premises and sold methamphetamine within the store.

Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's detectives assisted in the month-long investigation in 2008, which resulted in the August arrests of owner Pacifico Palo and Tamayo.

Palo was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor gaming, said Jane Robison, Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 120 days in jail and 36 months probation on Oct. 2, 2008, she said.

Tamayo was charged with felony sale of methamphetamine. He also pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 36 months probation.

The Smoke-N-Cerveza shop closed more than three months ago, Alcala said. However, Thursday's action makes it impossible for Smoke-N-Cerveza shop owner, Palo - who is a convicted felon - to reopen the shop.

"They actually could've stayed in business until today," Alcala said.

Santa Clarita City Council member Bob Kellar showed up for the sign-posting by Alcohol Beverage Control officials.

"I hope this sends a message to others that find themselves operating in this manner," Kellar said. "It's only a matter of time before we get you."


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