New Jersey Bar Shuttered Following Cockfighting Allegations, Illegal Gambling Conviction For Owner

Posted on: June 30, 2019, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: June 29, 2019, 05:45h.

New Jersey officials are pulling a drinking establishment’s liquor license amid allegations the bar’s owner ran a cockfighting operation and an illegal gambling ring.

New Ranchi CIty Bar in Paterson, New Jersey. The owner was suspected of cockfighting and convicted of illegal gambling. (Image: Google Maps)

The state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control will revoke New Ranchi City Bar and Liquors’ permit to serve and sell alcohol on July 24, forcing the Paterson, New Jersey watering hole to close.

In a November 2016 raid on the bar, authorities “found three roosters and gambling records.” reports the Paterson Times. Those findings led to a 2017 third-degree gambling conviction for the bar’s owner, Felix Grullon. Under New Jersey law, that conviction means Grullon cannot hold a liquor license.

Records do not indicate if Grullon was also convicted on charges related to cockfighting, an endeavor that is illegal in all 50 states. The Garden State is one of 40 where cockfighting is treated as a felony. Louisiana was the last state to pass a law against the “sport.” After being passed there in 2007, the law went into effect the following year.

A Laundry List Of Offenses

By many accounts, New Ranchi City Bar and Liquors was not a good neighbor and will not be missed in the local community. The November 2016 raid was not the first time law enforcement had to deal with Grullon or visit his bar.

Just two months after that sweep, New Ranchi City was cited for selling booze to an underage customer. Later in January 2017, the liquor property was hit with a citation related to having an illegal pool table and authorities found five small bags of marijuana at the bar, according to the Paterson Times.

Cannabis for recreational use remains illegal in New Jersey and recent legislative efforts there to change that have been met with resistance.

In July of 2017, New Ranchi City was dinged for indoor smoking, another no-no in New Jersey, and some minor offenses related to changes in Grullon’s liquor license application.

Paterson Councilman Luis Velez said in an interview with Tap Into Paterson, a local news blog, that New Ranchi City’s closure will enhance the neighborhood.

“We gave them (the bar) an opportunity to be good neighbors,” Velez said.. “The residents raised their concerns, their fears, and we took action.

New Jersey Laws

Home to one of the largest legal gaming markets in the US, New Jersey takes seriously offenses related to illegal gambling. In the state, convictions on third- or fourth-degree illicit gambling charges can carry prison terms of up to five years per charge.

State law defines illegal gambling, in part, as engaging “in conduct, which materially aids any form of gambling activity. Such conduct includes but is not limited to conduct directed toward the creation or establishment of the particular game, contest, scheme, device or activity involved, toward the acquisition or maintenance of premises, paraphernalia, equipment or apparatus therefor, toward the solicitation or inducement of persons to participate therein, toward the actual conduct of the playing phases thereof, toward the arrangement of any of its financial or recording phases, or toward any other phase of its operation.”

Third-degree gambling charges in New Jersey, such as the one Grullon was convicted on, can also feature fines up to $35,000.