123 arrested, including owner of NC club where murder occurred, in statewide operation


Officials say more than 100 people were arrested, including the owner of a Charlotte club where a 2019 homicide took place, in a statewide operation carried out by North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE).

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, ALE special agents arrested more than 123 people for alcohol, drug, firearm and gambling charges during a statewide crackdown in partnership with local, state and federal agencies.

Each of the eight districts targeted violence and illegal activity anywhere alcohol was sold, whether legally or illegally.

Special agents assisted Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in the arrest of Club Nikki’s owner Cory Headen, and three employees in connection with a homicide at the club in February.

An ABC-licensed club that officials say has a history of violence and criminal activity, The Freedom Lounge, had its permits successfully revoked by special agents in Charlotte.

Across the state, eight search warrants were executed and 14 firearms were seized including rifles, handguns and sawed-off shotguns.

Various types of controlled substances were seized, along with two illegal distilleries and over $13,000 in cash.

Of the 237 charges, 93 were alcoholic beverage-related charges, 77 drug-related charges, and six gambling charges.

In Person County, two people were arrested for the sale and manufacture of moonshine, and officials say one of the arrestees was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

In Greensboro, special agents raided the Hot Spot Mart, a convenience store operating as an illegal casino. Video gaming machines, liquor, and over $10,000 in cash were among the items seized.

“ALE’s primary mission is to protect public safety, so we apply considerable resources to regularly train the owners and staff of ABC permitted establishments to help them understand and obey North Carolina law,” said Bryan House, acting Head of North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement. “But when those laws are purposefully violated, the health and safety of our communities is at risk. To address these violators, we won’t hesitate to use all available manpower as we did this past weekend.”

ALE special agents will submit violation reports to the ABC commission for criminal and regulatory violations at 26 ABC-permitted businesses. The violations could result in fines, suspensions, or revocation of ABC permits.

The counties where the operation was held included — but were not limited to — Alamance, Guilford, Wilson, Nash, Franklin, Person, Wake, Pender, New Hanover, Craven, Iredell, Buncombe, Mecklenburg and Cumberland.

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