A popular beachfront eatery is a hotspot of crime and prostitution, with its owner saying the restaurant’s owners are under federal investigation.
The restaurant is located at the intersection of Old Tampa and Gulf Freeway in Tampa Bay, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of downtown.
Tampa Police Chief Steven McCarroll told the Tampa Bay Times that the department is investigating allegations of prostitution, drug trafficking and weapons charges at the restaurant.
“There’s a concern that they’re going to go to the state and state law enforcement and federal law enforcement,” McCarrol said.
McCarroll said that the restaurant is owned by the same people as the local chapter of the Nation of Islam.
According to a Tampa police arrest report, the owners of the restaurant were arrested last month after a raid of their home.
In a statement to the Times, a spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department said the department had been aware of the allegations against the restaurant and had launched an investigation.
“We are conducting a full investigation into this matter and have been in contact with the owners, who are cooperating with our investigation,” the statement said.
“Our concern is that they may be under investigation and not be able to serve the public or our community as they have been,” the spokesperson said.
The restaurant has not yet been contacted by police, the Times reported.
There are currently two Tampa Bay restaurants that are open for business under the “Beware of Bets” program.
A number of Tampa restaurants have been accused of selling drugs, prostitution and weapons, and authorities are looking into the situation.