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Merced bar shut down over alleged drug sales

April 12, 2013 12:07:39 AM PDT
State investigators shut down a Merced bar after allegations of drug sales inside. The bar's owner is being punished even though she may not have been aware of any illegal activity.

A knock from Alcoholic Beverage Control officers ended 10 years in business for Carolyn Croxford. Officers posted a notice of suspension on the window Thursday, and although Croxford didn't want to speak on camera, but her employees say it was heartbreaking.

"She's sad," said employee Monica Ingraham. "I mean, who wouldn't be? This is her baby. She built it up from, I guess, nothing."

The end comes because state investigators say drug sales were common within these walls. They sent in undercover officers for six months to see who was responsible.

"You had a bartender who worked here who was fully aware and even participated in the sale of marijuana," said Alcoholic Beverage Control spokesperson John Carr.

Investigator say patrons also sold meth and marijuana regularly. They say Crozford may have had no idea illegal sales were happening in her business, but she's ultimately responsible.

Neighbors say it's unfair. They blame the neighborhood -- not the bar, and especially not the owner -- for the drug problem.

"This is Drug Central," said a neighbor who asked to be identified as just Alex. "Keely block? There's tweakers all over the place. They ruined Carolyn's bar. They're selling drugs in there every day. They're making their money, but at what cost? The bar? That's not right."

In fact, bar regulars say they've seen Croxford remove customers for breaking the law, and removing Carolyn will only make the neighborhood worse because she was always willing to lend a helping hand.

"If you need help with your PG&E or your rent, she helps you out," said neighbor Dawn Batt. "She's just a very good lady."

Carolyn may not be ruined, though. Nobody can sell alcohol from this location for at least a year, but she can sell the license to someone who'll use it somewhere else. And the landlord tells Action News Carolyn Croxford already has plans to move out of state.


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