St. Landry

Apr 12, 2012 11:45 PM by Shawn Kline

Illegal alcohol sales, drugs, drug sales prompt police to deny first liquor license

Opelousas Police Chief Perry Gallow tells KATC if it was up to him, he'd shut a troubled convenience store down. The chief says the place is a hot-spot for crime but the store's attorney says otherwise.

At the Fastway Convenience Store on Vine Street, a sign hangs in the window. It says "Now Selling Alcohol," but Chief Gallow denied the store's request for a liquor license renewal.
Gallow says it's the first time he's ever had to deny a license renewal in the City of Opelousas.

To be clear, the store is not selling alcohol but it's attorney says there's no reason it shouldn't.

"They should, definitely should (have a liquor license)," Anna Simmons said.

You may remember her as the former Mayor of Opelousas, but today Simmons is practicing law. She represents the Fastway Convenience Store on Vine St.

"It's an area that's perpetuating other crimes," Chief Gallow said of the store.

Chief Gallow says his officers were called to the store at an alarming rate and prompted him to reject its liquor license renewal.

"Drug activity, drug sales are taking place on the lot itself," Chief Gallow said.

183 complaints have been filed on this store and that's more than enough for Chief Gallow to want to shut the place down but the store's attorney says if the problem was really that bad, Alcohol and Beverage Control would have rejected its liquor license and that didn't happen.

"I don't think they've done anything wrong," Simmons said. "Not anything worse than any other stores around here."

Although ABC approved the store's license renewal, City Council has the final say. Councilman Reggie Tatum asked the store owner to talk about the issues at this week's meeting.

"Somebody showed up, but they showed up to get the liquor license," Tatum said.

Until someone with the store explains the issues police are reporting, liquor sales at Fastway will be at a stand-still.

"We don't want to shut somebody down wrongfully." Tatum says, "but we also want to give them the chance to say what's going on."

Chief Gallow says the majority of the store's income comes from liquor sales so if the problems aren't fixed, the place could shut down.

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