Cocaine Sold at Las Vegas Bar for Decades

According to trusted bartenders, cocaine had been openly sold at the now-closed Smuggle Inn to anyone who entered the bar and requested to buy it. Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys say this kind of activity may be more common than not.

Michelle Kirk, age 53, was hired at Smuggle Inn back when she was just 28 years old. In a tell-all letter to District Judge Davide Barker, Michelle shared that “I didn’t realize when I started working there that it had been a cocaine bar for many years. It was basically the only reason people went there.”

How Did the Bar Get Caught Selling Cocaine?

The Smuggle Inn tavern was located at 1305 Vegas Valley Drive, and closed down in March of this year — no longer having a restaurant or liquor license (…and they certainly NEVER had a license to sell cocaine…)

Cocaine Arrest

Late last month, the Gaming Control Board approved a settlement that required the bar to also surrender its restricted gaming license. That deal was cut after a drug bust last December which resulted in the arrest of Kirk, as well as several patrons who had cocaine on them at the time of the arrest.

What Were the Charges?

Kirk pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, as per Clark County courthouse records. There was over $2,300 cash in her purse at the time of her arrest. There was also over 58 grams of cocaine and 5 grams of meth in a bank bag located behind the bar in Smuggle Inn.

Michelle Kirk was sentenced to 60 days in jail and five years of probation if she completed a substance abuse evaluation and treatment plan. If she violates the probation, she faces between 14-48 months in prison.

Bartenders Take the Fall, Owner Not Charged

As one could imagine, Kirk was not happy with her sentence. She asked the judge to let her out early, and in her letter to the judge wrote, “The first year of my employment, I did not, would not, participate… after struggling to pay my bills for over a year, I succumbed. I only sold while I worked, just as most others that worked there… I am an honest, hard-working, fun-loving, caring woman and mother that made a HUGE BAD CHOICE a long time ago.”

Unfortunately for Kirk, District Judge Jerry Wiese did not succumb to Kirk’s request, even after Kirk mentioned her 13-year-old son, who would now have a mother behind bars.

Most of the patrons who visited the bar for cocaine had their cases dismissed after they agreed to stay out of trouble and/or participate in drug abstinence meetings. A criminal case was opened against the second bartender arrested, Alvin St. Clair, and is still pending. A third, unnamed bartender has a warrant issued in his/her name. Uncharged in the sting: the bar’s longtime owner, Richard DiCandilo.
Metro initiated the bust last year after undercover detectives bought cocaine from two different Smuggle Inn bartenders on two separate occasions.


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