Deputies raid club again, arrest manager, cite 3 entertainers - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Deputies raid club again, arrest manager, cite 3 entertainers

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Neely D. Smith (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center) Neely D. Smith (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

For the second time in two weeks, Richland County Sheriff's deputies raided a nightclub that has been the scene of two recent incidents of gunfire.

After receiving a tip, deputies were dispatched to Crush Nightlife on River Drive at about 2 a.m. Saturday.  Deputies say they found bartenders serving alcoholic beverages.

Deputies say the management of the club was selling alcohol and running a sexually-oriented business without a license.

"The ownership and management of Crush drew a line in the sand daring us to close them down," said Sheriff Leon Lott. "We will do all we can to make that happen and make sure they follow the law until their doors are locked permanently."

Deputy Curtis Wilson says the manager of the club, Neely D. Smith Jr. was arrested.  Smith was also arrested earlier this month in a similar investigation. 

Three entertainers were cited for dancing without a license.

On January 17th,  investigators raided the business revealing gambling, drugs, and repeated illegal activity.  Earlier this month, deputies were called to the club to investigate gunfire twice within one week.

For the last three years, officers responded to at least 150 calls at the club. Investigators say many of them stemmed from aggravated assaults and weapons violations.

Sheriff Lott said they've tried to talk to Crush owners about security and safety but no to avail.

Robert Davis, who lives in the area,  is frustrated by the repeated violations at crush nightlife.

"It's a bit disconcerting," he said."Why are you showing such disrespect to the neighborhood?"

He lives in the Earlewood community, down the street from the strip club. He's concerned the club's proximity to his neighborhood is just too dangerous, especially now.

"You worry about when people are intoxicated and they're coming up River or going down Sunset," he said. "You worry about the circumstances. Are they going to hit you, a neighbor, a car or person walking down the street."

Shootings, fights, drugs and prostitution are just some of the past complaints deputies have received.

Rebecca Haynes has lived in Earlewood since 2007.

"Maybe this can help shut them down," she said.

"It's nice to see them (the Sheriff's Department) taking this as seriously as we are hoping," said Davis.

WIS went to Smith's home Sunday to get an explanation on the alleged repeat offenses. A person inside said he was out of town.

the solicitor's office says it's in the process of pursuing criminal and civil charges against the club. They will be serving notices to owners and then a court date will be set for the case to go before a judge.

The solicitor's office will have to prove that Crush is a public nuisance in a civil case and violated the law in a criminal case.

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