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Undercover agents offered food stamps for drugs and lap dances. This bar agreed, cops say

Sharkey’s Bar in Ohio had its liquor license revoked after agents were able to spend thousands in food stamps to buy heroin, fentanyl and other drugs, as well as lap dances. Charges were filed against employees.
Sharkey’s Bar in Ohio had its liquor license revoked after agents were able to spend thousands in food stamps to buy heroin, fentanyl and other drugs, as well as lap dances. Charges were filed against employees. Google Map Data

Over five months, undercover agents kept popping up in Shakey’s Bar in Harrison Township, Ohio to buy some merchandise.

But they weren’t there to knock back a few drinks — they were exposing an illegal operation in which they were able to buy drugs and lap dances in exchange for food stamps, according to a release from the state investigative unit.

“A lot of drugs were brought into that community because of that location. Children walk by there every day to go to school. For a place like that to be closed down, to not have people like that coming into the community, is fantastic for the kids and the people living in that area,” said agent-in-charge Michelle Thourot, according to the Dayton Daily News.

Officials said agents frequented the establishment over the length of the investigation and were able to buy drugs like heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, cocaine, and meth using food stamps, according to WHIO. They were also able to use the food stamps to purchase lap dances, according to officials.

In total, agents were able to exchange $2,404.87 in food stamps for the illicit goods and for the sexual activity, according to officials.

Food stamps, otherwise known as SNAP benefits, are government benefits that allow families to purchase things like groceries and vegetable garden plants. There are strict rules about what can be purchased with SNAP benefits: alcohol, hot foods, cleaning supplies and vitamins, for example, are all off the list.

Drugs and lap dances are also, definitely, off the list.

Officials filed criminal charges against employees of the business that included drug trafficking, food stamp trafficking, aggravated shipment and distribution of heroin, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and illegal sexual activity, according to the investigative unit.

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission also yanked the business’ liquor license on Sept. 20, WDTN reported, and the business is listed as permanently closed on Google.

It’s the second area bar to have its liquor license revoked recently. Another bar called The Harem was shut down by investigators after they were able to exchange more than $1,700 in food stamps for drugs, including fentanyl, Fox 45 reported.

Medical experts say you have to ingest fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, to overdose. You cannot overdose just by touching fentanyl, and it's possible, but highly unlikely to overdose from fentanyl by simply inhaling it.

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