Calling The Harem strip club a “sex and drug den,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. announced Friday the business has been shut down after his office filed a motion for preliminary injunction. His office will seek to permanently close The Harem at 5825 North Dixie Dr.
Heck announced the indictments of 11 people — five of whom were arrested Thursday night during a raid of The Harem, The Living Room and Sharkey’s — during a Friday press conference about a 9-month investigation initiated by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“Undercover agents witnessed a number of liquor violations including dancers in full nudity,” Heck said. “They witnessed illegal drug transactions.”
Those indicted are: Samantha Clay, 29, Dayton, on 33 counts; Samantha Childers, 30, Dayton, on 15 counts; Kayla Olivia Hatton, 22 , Dayton, on nine counts; Anna Barnes, 26, Middletown, on four counts; Sarah Barnes, 27, Piqua, on two counts; Melvin Bibbs, 58, Dayton, on four counts; Vanessa Graham (aka Schrider), 29, Englewood, on three counts; Ryan Perry, 32, Tipp City, on one count; Ciera Chastain, 24, Dayton, on four counts; Jennifer Rowland, 22, Springfield, on two counts; and Aaron Crenshaw, 30, Dayton, on seven counts.
Heck said five defendants were arrested Thursday and are in the Montgomery County Jail and that three more were arrested on unrelated charges.
Of the indicted 84 charges, the trafficking counts included cocaine, methamphetamine, carfentanil, fentanyl, marijuana and Oxycodone.
Several counts involved illegal sexual activity in a sexually oriented business, illegal uses of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) or WIC benefits and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
“The undercover agents conducted controlled drug buys at The Harem from a number of the defendants and observed the trading of food stamps and the cards used to obtain food stamps in exchange for sex acts, for lap dances and even illegal drugs,” Heck said. “The undercover agents were propositioned for sex and observed other propositions and proposition transactions. In short, The Harem was being used basically as a sex and drug den.”
Some defendants will be arraigned Oct. 3 and others on Oct. 12. Efforts to reach The Harem’s owners or management were unsuccessful.
Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Katherine Huffman signed an ex parte temporary restraining order to close The Harem.
Heck said a hearing will happen in the next 10 days when his office will ask a judge to shut down the business. The hearing has not been scheduled.
“Our goal is simply to have the court declare that The Harem is a public nuisance and its continued operation endangers the safety of the neighborhood and the citizens,” Heck said.
The OSHP said The Harem, Sharkey’s and The Living Room all were charged in an administrative case with the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for numerous violations.
Heck said the business alerted people when sheriff’s deputies — operating out of a nearby substation — entered so illegal activity could be hidden.
“It took undercover agents going inside and acting as patrons in order to uncover the scope of the criminal activity involved,” Heck said, saying Harrison Twp. residents deserve to “not have drug dealers and/or prostitutes roaming the streets or conducting illegal activity right at their front door.”