Town police and state alcohol agents raided two Knightdale restaurants Thursday and arrested nine people on various drug charges.
The raids targeted Sports Page bar on Smithfield Road and Rudino’s Pizza on Village Park Drive after a three-month investigation prompted by citizen complaints.
“Their complaints were significant enough that it warranted us looking further into it,” Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capps said.
Knightdale led the investigation and requested help from the Alcohol Law Enforcement Branch of the State Bureau of Investigation because both restaurants serve alcohol. It was not clear Friday if either restaurant would lose its ABC license as a result of Thursday’s arrests.
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Three employees and one owner of Sports Page face charges relating to cocaine and other drugs.
A manager, employee and three other people were arrested at Rudino’s Pizza.
Capps said there were some patrons in the restaurant at the time of the raid who were not part of the investigation but were arrested on other charges.
Sports Page owner William Joseph McGee was charged with conspiring to sell cocaine and allowing controlled substance violations to occur on an ABC-licensed premise. Manager Brian Keith Davis was charged with possession of a counterfeit controlled substance, selling that substance and allowing controlled substance violations to occur on licensed premises.
Sports Page employee Jonathan Williford was arrested for an outstanding warrant, and Adrian Obrien Bobo was charged with possession of cocaine. ALE did not specify Bobo’s relation to Sports Page.
Rudino’s Pizza manager Daphne Lee Turner was charged with possessing, conspiring to sell and selling cocaine as well as conspiring to sell Valium. She was also charged with allowing controlled substance violations to occur on licensed premises.
Rudino’s employee Joseph Frank Currin was charged with possession of codeine and selling Tylenol with codeine.
Two others, Shawn Bunce and Wesley Cesnik, whose relation to Rudino’s was not noted by ALE, were charged with possessing and conspiring to sell Valium. Bunce was also charged with selling Valium.
A third person at Rudino’s, Jennifer Caroline Brown, was charged with possessing and selling cocaine and hydrocodone.
“Criminal activity within ABC licensed establishments such as these creates an unsafe environment for patrons as well as the community as a whole,” B.W. Collier, the SBI’s acting director, said in a statement. “Disregard for such illegal activity allows the criminal element in our communities to use these businesses as a haven for criminal acts.”