JACKSONVILLE, FL - September 11, 2020 - According to an online news report on firstcoastnews.com, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, a joint county-city law enforcement department, conducted an undercover sting leading to the arrest of two individuals. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detectives, along with police officers, raided the illegal nightclub that had set up shop in a strip mall. The nightclub was hidden from plain view in order to avoid being detected by concerned citizens and law enforcement. The strip mall is located off of Baymeadows Road in Jacksonville, Florida. According to the news report, there were about 100 patrons inside the club during the police raid. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was alerted to the illegal club when the department began receiving several complaints. The raid was conducted on Saturday in the early morning hours, and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detectives allege that there were minors being served alcohol at the illegal nightclub.
According to the news report, the nightclub was called the Illyrian Roots. The nightclub was hidden between a restaurant and a barbershop in the strip mall plaza located at San Jose Boulevard and Baymeadows. The news report states that the business' Facebook page promotes itself as being an Albanian social club.
After the police, Vice Units, and detectives from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Narcotics raided the nightclub at approximately 2 in the morning, a
cease and desist notice was placed on one of the windows of the business. The arrest report claims that a sofa was propped up against the front door from the club's inside and blocking access to the nightclub's front side entranceway. Law enforcement then moved to the rear of the strip mall and found a rear entranceway accessed by an alley. As law enforcement attempted to access the club, they found that the rear door was locked. The law enforcement officers made entry into the nightclub, and the officers counted approximately 105 people inside the nightclub. Locking the doors with occupants inside is a fire and safety hazard and is illegal and a felony criminal charge in the State of Florida.
The news report states that police officers arrested two individuals. A 39-year-old female suspect and a 33-year-old male suspect were booked, arrested, and charged with several criminal charges. Law enforcement stated that the 39-year-old female suspect rented the space, and she received several civil citations from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. She also faces three additional criminal charges, including:
- A misdemeanor in the second-degree for selling alcohol to individuals who were under 21 years old.
- A misdemeanor in the second-degree for "keeping and maintaining a place where alcoholic beverages are sold illegally."
- A felony in the third-degree for failure to comply, relating to the rear entrance door which only opened inward.
The 33-year-old male suspect was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor in the second-degree for selling alcohol to individuals under 21 years old, and a misdemeanor in the second-degree for "keeping and maintaining a place where alcoholic beverages are sold illegally."
The news report states that the 39-year-old female suspect was able to bond out of jail, while her accomplice is being detained on an immigration hold.