Authorities conduct overnight raid on Midlands club

An overnight raid of a Midlands club has authorities wanting to shut the business down immediately.

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WACH) - An overnight raid of a Midlands club has authorities wanting to shut the business down immediately.

Sheriff Leon Lott and Solicitor Dan Johnson announced Thursday a raid was conducted on Club Crush on River Drive Wednesday night after continual community complaints of drug activity, repeated shooting incidents and fights.

The raid resulted in the discovery of sales of alcohol without license, operating a business without a license, gambling, drugs, seizure of $12,000 in cash, video gambling machines, marijuana and 54 boxes of liquor, according to authorities.

Three individuals were charged in connection with the raid. Deputies say Alicia Baker, 27, is charged with simple possession of marijuana. The club manager, Neely D. Smith, Jr., 54, is charged in connection with license violations, liquor violations and gaming machines. A bartender, Patricia M. Rock, 39, is also charged in connection with liquor violations.

Lott says deputies have responded to more than 142 incidents at the business since January 2010 including more than 40 aggravated assaults and weapons violations and more than 15 liquor and drug violations.

According to Johnson, his office responded to written complaints regarding the activity and violence at Crush by people living in the Earlewood neighborhood earlier this week.

Lott says officials with both the Richland County Sheriff's Department and the Solicitor's Office have "repeatedly met with community leaders and the management and owner of the club to discuss the repeated incidents that have caused concerns that the club is a nuisance."

Lott plans to work with Johnson on the process to shut the club down, while monitoring their activities.

Both Lott and Johnson say they wish the doors of the club could be immediately closed. They say there is a lengthy civil process that must take place first for that to happen.

There will be a community meeting about the situation at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Earlewood Park Community Center in the new building at the park.