Two Roxbury storefronts were closed by the city Monday after officials found drug paraphernalia, counterfeit products, and numerous building violations in one store and an illegal gambling operation in the other, which was across the street, the inspectional services department said.
A response team consisting of police officers and members of the city’s health, fire, and building agencies convened at 3115 Washington St., where one storefront houses both Super Mario’s and DC Home Supply, said Darryl Smith, assistant inspectional services commissioner.
Police confiscated crack paraphernalia, pornography, and cigarettes without tax stamps. The store also allegedly sold loose cigarettes illegally, said Smith. The store owner, Daniel Cabral, was issued two $800 fines for that violation and will be called for a license revocation hearing at a later date, Smith said
The store was also selling food items, such as chips and water, without a retail food license, and the fire department found blocked sprinklers and building exits, Smith said.
“They had so much stuff stacked in the store that it was a potential fire hazard,” Smith said. “Products were stacked all the way to the ceiling, and if there were a fire, the sprinklers couldn’t even spray.”
The store was issued a closure notice. “It sent a message that this owner will not be able to operate any way that they want, there are rules and regulations they need to follow like everybody else,” Smith said.
As soon as the response team shut one store down, they received complaints about illegal activity across the street.
Police arrested three men at the Lluvia Dollar Store Plus at 3116 Washington St., for running a numbers operation.
Public health officials also issued two violations in the store. The store was then closed because there was no one left to run it, Smith said.
“Timing is everything,” Smith said. “We happened to walk in at the right time.”Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at email@example.com.