OAKLAND- How did patrons know they could buy drinks all night long at a club in a basement in Oakland called "Studio 361"? Social media. How did California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents and Oakland Police officers discover it? Citizen complaints. That's when agents and officers went in undercover and discovered a bar scene where liquor was sold, drugs were used, disc jockeys played music and patrons danced. There were also smoking rooms for customers. All of this after hours when legitimate, licensed bars and nightclubs stopped selling alcohol at 2 a.m.
As a result of that investigation, on November 6, 2015, ABC agents and Oakland Police officers executed a search warrant at 361 12th Street. Agents arrested the club operators and seized alcoholic beverages, money and illegal drugs. The two club operators were arrested for selling alcohol without a license and for possessing cocaine. Agents seized 72 bottles of liquor, a significant amount of beer and wine, and approximately $400 in cash from behind the bar. Agents also found several small bags of suspected narcotics believed to have been abandoned by patrons as agents and officers entered the business.
During the undercover investigation, agents entered the basement club and confirmed that the illegal activity was taking place. The investigation revealed that advertisement for the club took place primarily through social media and that it largely catered to patrons of licensed bars in the area after those businesses stopped serving alcohol at 2 a.m. as required by law. ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.
"In order to conduct this investigation, ABC agents were working all hours of the night," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "This is typical for ABC agents and why many ABC agents are seeking law enforcement jobs elsewhere. They can use their law enforcement expertise and training at other departments and agencies for better pay and better hours. ABC agents conduct investigations and police work that is vital to public safety. They encounter drugs, gangs, human trafficking and weapons. They help keep the citizens of California safe, day and NIGHT."