NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The City Council voted Wednesday night to revoke the liquor license of a bar where police said security guards were selling drugs.
Det. Ryan DeGraw, the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control officer, testified that cocaine, a gun and large sums of money were discovered the night in October 2018 when city police executed a search warrant on Mi Tierra bar at 14 Jersey Ave.
Under questioning from city attorney T.J. Shamy, DeGraw said police, who had been conducting an undercover investigation and gathering information from an informant, also discovered the bar employed several people with criminal records, including charges of attempted murder and drug trafficking.
The testimony lasted for more than three hours before the council voted to revoke the license as of midnight Wednesday, a city spokesperson said. The license has been returned to the city.
Mi Tierra is owned by Pirian Sivakumar, who was represented by attorney Michael Roberts.
During the public comment portion of Wednesday night's council meeting, which proceeded the hearing, three residents of the Esperanza neighborhood urged the governing body to revoke the bar's license. One resident said there were many fights outside the bar and called it an embarrassment to the neighborhood.
Wednesday's hearing was a continuation of the one that started May 1, where Shamy said Mi Tierra had been run "like the wild, wild west."
In May, Roberts said that many of the charges against the bar are "exaggerated, unfounded, inappropriate" and that there has been a "marked improvement" at the bar since 2016.
Shamy said during the hearing the bar violated special conditions that had been attached to its liquor license by the city council by not having private security present the night of Dec. 31, 2018, into Jan. 1, 2019.
He said Sivakumar had been instructed by the council that private security must be present on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Shamy said special conditions had been placed on the bar dating back to 2014. At that time, it was required to have off-duty New Brunswick police officers present to provided security. Special conditions had been subsequently relaxed to allow for the bar to hire private security.