Liquor license suspended after drugs seized from Puyallup bar

PUYALLUP, Wash. — The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has issued an emergency 180-day liquor license suspension for a Puyallup bar that was found to be involved in illicit drug trafficking, officials announced Wednesday.

The suspension for Johnny’s Bar & Grill, located at 1100 Meridian North, will run through Dec. 15 and the WSLCB is working to permanently revoke the license.

"I was a little amazed. I didn't know this was all going down," said Mark Felderman, who’s friends with the owner. "Johnny is a great guy, great friend and I hope this all works out. It's sad."

The WSLCB said law enforcement officers received information from a confidential source on Sept. 27, 2018, that the owner of the bar was involved in drug trafficking.

According to the WSLCB, 44.7 grams of cocaine were purchased in four undercover controlled buys at the premises from the licensee.

"I was kind of surprised, but I'm not really all that surprised,” said customer Marie Merrick.

The city of Puyallup Police Department and Federal Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force (TNET) served a search warrant on for the licensed premises on April 17.

“During the search, task force members discovered various forms of illicit drugs and quantities were seized, to include cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, synthetic cannabinoids and pharmaceutical Oxycodone,” an official with the WSLCB wrote in a news release.

Officials said the licensee was arrested on charges of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

“The WSLCB is authorized by state law to issue an emergency suspension of up to 180 days of a liquor license when it believes the ‘health, safety or welfare’ of the general public is in danger. This is the first emergency suspension issued this year by the WSLCB, there were four overall in 2018,” the WSLCB said.

KIRO 7 reached out to the DEA, a spokesperson would only say this is an active investigation and they are not able to comment.

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