Prosecutors say food stamps were being used to buy lap dances at a strip club in Ohio.
A months-long investigation led to raids at several establishments in Harrison Township, reports WKEF.
“In short, the Harem was being used basically as a sex and drug den,” said Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck.
Now, five people are in jail and there are warrants for six more for what prosecutors say was happening inside The Harem.
“Undercover agents witnessed a number of liquor violations, including dancers in full nudity. They witnessed illegal drug transactions,” Heck said.
Heck said undercover agents bought drugs from the defendants and “observed the trading of food stamps and the cards used to obtain food stamps in exchange for sex acts, for lap dances, and even for illegal drugs.”
Desiree McDermott lives near The Harem.
“You really don’t know what people do behind closed doors. I really don’t know what they’ve been doing, but I think it’s good that they got caught,” McDermott said. “There’s kids coming up and down, going to school. I go to work. I ride the bus. We don’t want to see that stuff. We don’t want to deal with that and have the kids see that growing up.”
The investigation at The Harem led officers to Sharkey’s and The Living Room. Both are facing sex and drug charges.
Sally Elams lives close by.
“This is where I live, and I care about my community, so I’m going to do everything I can to combat, you know, anything I don’t want in the community that isn’t good for us as a whole,” Elams said.
She said neighbors used to protest in front of the strip clubs but gave up.
“I think a lot of people feel like the justice system has failed us,” Elams said.
“The residents of Harrison Township are frustrated and really angry at this illegal activity, and I don’t blame them,” Heck said.
A hearing will decide whether The Harem will be closed permanently. The other establishments are already back open.