Posted on: March 4, 2022, 09:03h.
Last updated on: March 4, 2022, 09:03h.
A recently demolished Chicago storefront was allegedly being used for illegal gaming, prostitution, and even had a possible methamphetamine lab there, a published report revealed this week. The North Western Avenue one-story building also was structurally unsound and dangerous, officials said. So, it was torn down last month.
Several gaming machines reportedly were seized from the building during a Feb. 8 raid. The court-ordered search was led by federal agents and Chicago cops. The Chicago Sun-Times also reported this week that Allen Isip, 34, who worked in the building, was charged by police.
He was charged with keeping a gambling place, the newspaper said. He claimed to be the “host” at the operation, the report said. He gave proceeds from gambling machines to a woman named “Grace,” the report adds.
That could refer to Grace Fajardo. She is the agent for a nonprofit that had a business license for the location, the Sun-Times said. The license was issued in October.
Fajardo was not charged. She did not provide an immediate comment to the Sun-Times.
Also, WFLD, a local TV station, reported two owners of nearby businesses saw people entering and exiting the storefront both day and night. A social club could have been housed there in recent months.
Meth was allegedly being made inside the building, the Sun-Times reported, based on documents obtained from Chicago’s Department of Buildings. After the raid, a 36-year-old woman was charged with possessing meth and drug paraphernalia, the Sun-Times reported, citing Cook County court documents. However, the drug charges were soon dropped, the report adds.
When reached for comment, Nasrullah Khan, identified as the building’s owner, confirmed to the Sun-Times that the city of Chicago demolished the building. But it was done without his family knowing about it ahead of time, Khan said. He was unaware of any drug activity taking place there.
A Chicago alderman, Debra Silverstein, a Democrat, (who is not related to Casino.org journalist Ed Silverstein), and who represents the 50th Ward, said in a recent Facebook post, “Over the past several months there have been numerous citizen complaints of illegal activity occurring at 6948 N. Western.”
Her office received calls about “suspected drug activity, gambling, and prostitution at the address,” she said. “Two shooting incidents were also associated with the location.”
She added that the structure “was inspected by the Department of Buildings and found to be structurally unsound. The department ordered the demolition for safety purposes.” The demolition did not relate to the alleged crimes taking place there, city officials said.
Nationally, police, such as in Los Angeles and San Diego, have said illegal gambling operations can lead to other crime. These can be associated with prostitution, drug trafficking, and acts of violence.