The Baltimore Liquor Board revoked the license of a Fells Point strip club this week. Part of the reason: Police allegedly caught the former manager with two "softball sized" lumps of cocaine.
The Big Easy Cabaret at 2000 Eastern Avenue opened in 2011. Neighbors complained of noise, fights, and weapons at the location, and the liquor board suspended the license. Days later, according to court records, police pulled over a car driven by Richard Mariano, who managed the club before the suspension. Inside they found coke and two female bartenders from the club.
The feds had dropped a wire on what they call the "Mariano DTO." They say his drug trafficking organization shipped "bulk quantities of cocaine" from New York to Baltimore for sale here.
At the hearing (start the video at about 59:30) the bar's owner, a Washington, D.C. firefighter and former Ocean City police officer named Brian Grace, says he fired Mariano on the way out of the Nov. 20 hearing where he was fined $2,000 and the bar closed for two months.
ATF agents showed up at The Big Easy with a warrant about two days after that, seizing the bar's security cameras, Grace told the Liquor Board. Since then, Grace said, "I'm the bartender, the doorman, the manager, and everything."
Neighbors testified that the bar had been mostly closed since the suspension and ATF raid, but that people still loitered outside of it at night.
Mariano, meanwhile, is out on bail. The cocaine case is pending in federal court.