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Sheriff’s deputies in Queens encounter hostile owner, carbon monoxide in illegal hookah bar raid

The Sheriff's office raided an illegal hookah bar in Woodside, Queens on Jan. 24, 2021.
Photo courtesy of NYC Sheriff's Office

Threats of violence and deadly carbon monoxide fumes did not stop law enforcement agents from shutting down another illegal club operating during the COVID-19 pandemic in Queens this weekend.

It was the latest operation that the New York City Sheriff’s Office conducted to enforce pandemic-related restrictions on crowding and alcohol consumption — but the violations found at 65-25 Roosevelt Ave., an apartment house in Woodside, on the morning of Jan. 24 could have proven as fatal as the virus if the raid never happened.

Members of the Sheriff’s office began surveilling the site on the night of Jan. 23 after receiving information about an unlicensed bar operating at the location. They spotted multiple patrons entering through a construction door located within scaffolding adjacent to a residential entry way.

When the deputies moved to enter the club at 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, the Sheriff’s office reported that they were met by unruly individuals who refused to comply with the orders, and even made threats of violence against them.

The club’s alleged owner and operator — Marco Chacon, 41, of Jamaica, Queens — tried to physically restrain the deputies, the Sheriff’s office reported. The deputies managed to resist Chacon and take him into custody.

Once they got through the front door, law enforcement sources said, the deputies spotted security camera footage showing a large crowd of patrons in the basement. But the deputies couldn’t get further into the club due to blocked egresses and “heavily fortified” doors, the Sheriff’s office reported.

One of the fortified doors.Photo courtesy of NYC Sheriff’s Office

The deputies had to call in the Fire Department to forcibly break through the fortified doors of the nightclub. After they did, the deputies spotted at least 75 individuals drinking and smoking hookah. 

The club area also had a dangerously high level of carbon monoxide which could have resulted in injury or death from prolonged exposure, authorities said.

Patrons inside the illegal club.Photo courtesy of NYC Sheriff’s Office
Patrons inside the illegal club.Photo courtesy of NYC Sheriff’s Office

Sixty-three individuals inside the club were evacuated from the location, and now face fines of up to $1,000 for “participating in a nonessential mass gathering inside of an unlicensed establishment,” according to the Sheriff’s office.

Chacon, meanwhile, was issued desk appearance tickets for obstruction of governmental administration, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and organizing a nonessential mass gathering. He faces a $15,000 fine, with additional alcohol beverage control law violations still pending.

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