Agents say family-owned Houma bar was front for drugs, prostitut - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Agents say family-owned Houma bar was front for drugs, prostitution

Agents say family-owned Houma bar was front for drugs, prostitution

Investigators say much more than drinking was going on in the Wet and Wild Saloon in Houma. (FOX 8 Photo) Investigators say much more than drinking was going on in the Wet and Wild Saloon in Houma. (FOX 8 Photo)
HOUMA, LA (WVUE) -

State agents on Wednesday dealt a death blow to a family-owned bar in Terrebonne Parish, saying the establishment was supposed to run as a gentlemen's club but was actually a front for drug deals and prostitution.

In Terrebonne it’s illegal to allow nudity and sell alcohol in the same business. But investigators say much more than that was going on in the Wet and Wild Saloon in Houma.

“Alcohol is legal, but the alcohol is the attractant that brings in other illegal activities such as drugs, such as prostitution,” said ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert.

Herbert revoked the alcohol permit issued to owners Lance and Rachel Smiley. During a recent sheriff’s investigation, deputies say they witnessed prostitution and lewd acts being performed inside the club. And they say on two separate occasions, a bouncer and dancer called drug dealers, who then drove to the bar and sold marijuana and ecstasy to undercover agents.

On another occasion, deputies say they bought crystal meth inside the bar. 

“There has been zero evidence presented at this hearing today - zero that Mr. Lance Smiley had any knowledge whatsoever,” said Smiley attorney Brad Naquin.

The Smileys claim they knew nothing about any sort of wrongdoing, instead blaming the bar’s manager. Investigators admit that Lance Smiley was not present at the club during the undercover operations, but say Rachel Smiley witnessed topless and bottomless women on several occasions and did nothing about it.

“[Lance is] a community man, and he's working to get his reputation back in this community,” Naquin said.

“At ATC, we can work very quickly to revoke that permit, basically immediately,” Hebert said. “And on this particular case, I did revoke it immediately. As soon as we got the evidence, I shut it down based on the fact I thought it was a threat to public health and safety.”

The Smileys say Wet and Wild is shut down for good. The couple does own another bar in Lafourche Parish but they were able to keep that license pending the outcome of the criminal charges they face.

As for the bar manager that the Smileys blame, investigators subpoenaed him for tonight’s hearing but was he was a no-show.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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