Nine arrested after ABC agents bust nip joint in Portsmouth

Posted at 4:27 PM, Jun 04, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-04 16:28:37-04

Portsmouth, Va.  – Nine people were arrested Friday when Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) special agents and the Portsmouth Police Department raided a home on Chestnut Street.

The ABC agents were conducting an undercover investigation into the illegal sale of alcohol at an unlicensed establishment, commonly known as a ‘nip joint’ or ‘shot house.’

Agent Joyce-Sutton Reed and Portsmouth police executed a search warrant at the  residence in the 2300 block of Chestnut Street, and arrested Edward McCoy Jones, 75, and Mark Anthony Harris, 52, both of Portsmouth.

Jones, the residence occupant, was charged with three counts of maintaining a common nuisance and three counts of aiding and abetting the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages.

Harris was charged with three counts of maintaining a common nuisance and three counts of the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages.

In addition, seven patrons were issued summons and released for frequenting a common nuisance, a class 1 misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a $2,500 fine and/or up to one year in jail.

One patron, Melvin Perdue, 57, of the 700 block of Madison St., Portsmouth, was picked up on an outstanding warrant for a parole violation, a felony charge. Perdue is in custody in the Portsmouth City jail.

Approximately $400, cigarettes and various amounts of liquor and beer were seized during the search. ABC special agents successfully purchased single cigarettes and alcohol, including beer and distilled spirits, on several occasions during the three-month investigation.

Harris was booked at the Portsmouth City Jail. Jones was picked up at a Norfolk location and booked at the Norfolk City Jail.