Two night clubs in Screven County were shut down for the illegal sale of alcohol after search warrants were executed during a simultaneous raid of the clubs, where both owners were arrested, authorities said.
Following several complaints from concerned citizens and business owners regarding the violence that has been a product of the clubs, officials said, Georgia Department of Revenue, Alcohol and Tobacco Law Enforcement division got involved. Special Agent Ronald Huckaby in charge of District 4 of the division said after checking with the district attorney’s office and finding there had been a murder and several shootings at these clubs, they decided to join forces with Screven County Sheriff’s Department and Sylvania Police Department and try to eliminate the problem.
Late June marked the beginning of a 90-day investigation that opened on Spaceship Lounge, Huckaby said, which led to the investigation of another club, Legion Hut also known as Prime Time. Both clubs, located on Burton’s Ferry Road about three miles apart, were suspected to be operating without a license and selling distilled spirits in a dry county, he said.
On September 28, a search warrant was obtained, signed by Judge Gates Peed, superior court judge of the Bulloch judicial circuit, Huckaby said, and plans were made for the dual raid on Saturday night, Oct. 2.
Huckaby came from his Savannah office and acted as case agent and team leader for the raid of Spaceship Lounge. One of his Augusta agents, David Toulson, was acting case agent for the second team.
Huckaby’s men, along with Screven deputies, Sylvania officers, and Ga. State Patrol toopers met around 11 p.m. at the Ga. State Patrol Post 21 in Sylvania to launch the raid.
The two teams executed the search warrants simultaneously at 11:52 p.m., Huckaby said.
At Spaceship Lounge, they arrested owner/operator John Roberson, Sr., 63, of Old River Road in Sylvania. He was charged with possession/sale of distilled spirits within a dry county and sale of alcohol without a license.
At this location, authorities confiscated almost 15 gallons of liquor, 1.78 gallons of wine, 253 cans of beer, which amounted to 18 gallons, and currency, Huckaby said. Officers also seized 10 bags of marijuana and 9 bags of cocaine that people dropped on the floor during the raid, he said. All drugs were turned over to Screven County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.
Owner of Prime Time, Eurl Kittles, was also arrested, as was the club’s bar tender. Kittles, 30, of Ridge Road, Augusta, was charged with possession/sale of distilled spirits within a dry county and sale of alcohol without a license. Curtis Stewart, 34, of Banana Circle in Sylvania faces the same charges. Confiscated from this location were 18.58 gallons of liquor, 1.18 gallons of wine, and 150 cans of beer.
The operation ran smoothly and no incidents occurred, Huckaby said. No drugs were found at the second location.
“We’re hoping they will stay shut down,” Huckaby said, “unless they obtain a license and operate legally.”
This is the third time Spaceship has been shutdown in recent years, he said, once in 2002 and once in 2007.
To keep a club like this shutdown, Huckaby said the county must go through the process of deeming it a place of nuisance in order to acquire the property.
He said there are several steps that must be taken but it can be done.
Anyone in Screven or surrounding counties is covered in his 49-county district, Huckaby said. A hotline has been made available to any person in those counties who may have information regarding illegal alcohol sales. Such concerns can be directed anonymously to the state department of revenue at 1-877-CHECKID, or 1-877-243-2543, Huckaby said.