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Tampa club closed, employees face charges linked to alcohol and drug charges

Published Jan. 19, 2015

A North Tampa club was closed and its employees arrested on drug and illegal alcohol distribution charges Saturday after a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office inspection.

Til Dawn club manager William Rich, 43, and bartender Walter Mocada Jr., 42, were both charged with distributing alcohol illegally. Rich was also charged with maintaining an establishment where alcohol is sold illegally. Til Dawn, at 8205 N Dale Mabry Highway, is a bottle club, meaning customers can bring in their own alcohol but the club cannot sell it.

The club's head of security, Ferninand Martinez, 45, was also arrested on counts of cocaine and paraphernalia possession and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. Patron Ed Ether Jr., 27, was arrested on drug possession charges with intent to distribute after he was observed discarding a bag with five smaller bags of cocaine and eight small bags of ecstasy, the Sheriff's Office said.

Four bags of marijuana and three marijuana cigarettes, five bags of cocaine, and 38 bags of ecstasy were found on the floor, according to authorities.

The arrests were made based on an inspection conducted at about 6 a.m. Saturday by the Sheriff's Office and the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco. The inspection was held after an undercover investigation during which a bartender illegally sold alcohol, authorities said.

The Sheriff's Office said it seized about $1,400 in cash from unlawful sales of alcohol, 85 bottles of liquor and about 20 bottles of beer. The club is facing civil and administrative penalties, and possible forfeiture of its license.