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DIGGING DEEPER: New details in downtown bar bust

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TUCSON - A bar in the downtown scene was raided just days ago.

Tucson Police Department arrested four people they said oversold liquor and sold drugs.

News 4 Tucson was there when police busted some of the people at HiFi Kitchen & Cocktails last Thursday.

The Digging Deeper Team uncovered the bar has had problems in the past.

According to the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, the popular night club had a list of 22 violations against the business that dated back to 2014.

An additional check showed there were four violations in 2018 - 2019.

Since the bar opened, it has been plagued with violations such as repeated acts of violence, drinking contests, serving more than law allows, and failure to protect the safety of patrons.

In last Thursday’s raid, three employees and a customer were arrested.

Aston Carrizoza, who works security, was charged with narcotics violations.

Bartenders Pablo Craney and Amber Dietz were charged with over-serving.

Customer Eddie Leyva was charged with selling narcotics.

Captain Christopher Dennison with Tucson Police Department oversees the downtown entertainment district, he provided some of the details of the bust.

“We sent in officers in plainclothes in an undercover operation they ended up doing buys narcotic buying cocaine from one of the employees one of the security guards there and as well as one of the patrons that was there,” Captain Dennison told News 4 Tucson.

Captain Dennison also said they received numerous complaints, and also saw on social media some of the alcohol-fueled violence that's been occurring.

The business remained open after the raid, and so does the investigation. That night, agents with the liquor board were also involved.

TPD has forwarded them a year's worth of data and reports from bars, and nightclubs in the downtown area.

“They will review the cases and make a recommendation to the liquor board. The liquor board can make a determination on any of the sanctions opposed to any of the establishments downtown that are violating the rules they are supposed to be operating under,” Captain Dennison told the Digging Deeper team.

Captain Dennison added the goal is for all bars and nightclubs to provide a safe environment for their customers.

The department is committed to providing education for the employees about serving alcohol.

“That's a great solution for everybody involved. It's less work for us in the back end with coming in with enforcement making arrests and the big thing is reducing victims in the area. That's the whole name of the game,” said Dennison.

Until the Liquor Board concludes its investigation, the department will be partnering with the businesses to make changes and to keep the downtown area safe for everyone.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

Paul Birmingham

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