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State suspends liquor licenses of two Huntington Station bars

The New York State Liquor Authority suspended the

The New York State Liquor Authority suspended the liquor licenses of two Huntington Station bars, including Santa Rosa Restaurant Inc. at 118 West Hills Rd., according to a news release on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. Credit: Steve Pfost

State officials have suspended the liquor licenses of a pair of Huntington Station bars that were raided over the weekend based on what authorities said were suspected connections to MS-13 gang activity.

The State Liquor Authority identified the bars as Santa Rosa Restaurant Inc. on West Hills Road and La Perfecta Bar Restaurant Inc. on Broadway.

“Both licensees have created an incredibly dangerous environment in their communities, and have become nexuses of illegal activity and an immense burden on police resources,” said Christopher R. Riano, counsel to the authority, in a news release.

The Saturday morning raid — conducted by Suffolk County police, SLA officials, local fire marshals and federal homeland security investigators — netted the arrests of six men on a variety of criminal charges, authorities said.

Suffolk police said the raids were “targeted because of MS-13 and other illegal activity,” but authorities have not elaborated on what ties to MS-13 were found.

According to the SLA news release Tuesday, at Santa Rosa Restaurant investigators found an illegal basement gambling operation, which included a pool table, gambling devices and a curtained-off room made for hosting card and dice games. Police arrested four men for possession of the illegal devices and one other for possession of a weapon, police said.

On Monday, the restaurant was hit with 23 violations of the alcohol beverage control law, which included disorderly conduct, lack of supervision, failure to maintain books and records, health and building code violations and becoming a focal point for police attention, officials said. Suffolk police officials have responded to over 40 calls to the bar, including 10 since the start of the year, authorities said.

La Perfecta Bar was also raided early Saturday and police arrested a patron there who was in possession of a controlled substance, officials said. Authorities said they also discovered cocaine was sold behind the bar as well as cigarettes. An ownership interest in the bar had also been sold to an unlicensed person for $14,000, officials said.

Suffolk police said the bar was also a focal point for some MS-13 members and associates, with multiple complaints for drug sales and fights, according to the SLA release. In all, the bar was cited for 13 violations of ABC law, officials said.

The owner of neither bar could be reached Tuesday.

“The SLA sent a clear message today that this Agency will not hesitate to take swift and immediate action when our licensees condone gratuitous violence, tax police resources, and jeopardize the safety of the public,” Riano said.

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