Police: 2 Speakeasies Busted In South Philadelphia - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Police: 2 Speakeasies Busted In South Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA -

Police made arrests at two South Philadelphia restaurants on Wednesday for allegedly operating speakeasies.

"It's uncalled for. The youngest guy in here is 65 years old" said customer Mario Pizzano.

It’s business as usual at Caffe Italia at 1424 Snyder Ave.

The little cafe is packed and patrons are talking about the raid by Philadelphia's City Vice Unit.  They’re saying the Espresso Cafe is no secret cocktail parlor, but it's just a neighborhood place for retirees to play cards and watch games

"We're all retired people here. Every one of us. What's the big deal if we got a couple of bottles of liquor and we have a little drink while we're eating a sandwich? What's the big deal?” said Pizzano.

Police believe it’s a big deal.

In fact, during the raid, police say they confiscated $584 in cash, 129 bottles of beer and liquor.

Tonino Irace,69, and Canio Pascale,66, were both arrested and charged with illegal liquor sales and criminal conspiracy.

A few blocks away at Mediterranean's at 1426 McKean Street, police say, they recovered $17,000, $528 in cash and 181 bottles of beer and liquor.

Police busted Zoheir Mouloudj. He's charged with illegal liquor sales.

However, neighbors maintain the section of South Philly is a tight community and these locations aren't secret drinking dens that would be characterized by unmarked entrances or illegal activity.

"We've never heard anything about that place across the street a bunch of neighbors go there. It’s a place where people are minding their own business," said neighbor David D’Antonio.

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