Downtown Victoria strip club shut down until March 31

Joint investigation catalogues a collection of offences at Monty's

It took nine months of investigation, but Victoria police finally gathered enough evidence to shut down Monty’s Exotic Showroom Pub on drug and liquor licence violations.

The pub, located at 1415 Government St., was ordered to suspend operations for 22 days, effective March 9, after police an employee trafficking cocaine to patrons and exotic dancers acting inappropriately.

The undercover operation, dubbed Fowl Play, was conducted by VicPD’s street crime unit, with assistance from officers from Delta, Abbotsford, Vancouver, and the Military Police who acted as patrons, Deputy Chief John Ducker said on VicPD’s operations blog.

Officers witnessed a club employee sell a flap of cocaine to an undercover officer and an employee consuming liquor while serving patrons. As well, exotic dancers were witnessed performing acts outside of the stage area, touching patrons inappropriately, undressing patrons – all violations of the club’s licence – and simulating acts of violence, Ducker wrote.

As well, an undercover officer was able to freely remove liquor from the bar and consume it outside, without being questioned by staff.

Operation Fowl Play has been ongoing since June 2011, but the club has had a history of liquor violations dating back to 2001, according to Ducker.

The male employee who sold cocaine to an undercover officer was arrested. He was identified as the same person who sold cocaine to officers in 2004, said VicPD spokesperson Mike Tucker.

On top of the mandated closure, the strip club also faces $4,000 in fines, including $3,000 for an employee drinking while on duty and $1,000 for a patron being able to freely remove alcohol from the building, Ducker said.

Suspensions of this type and length are rare in Victoria, a Liquor Control Branch spokesperson said in an email. The last Victoria business ordered to halt operations for a similar amount of time was a restaurant found to be operating as a bar for a second time in 2008. That restaurant was closed for 30 days.

Since 2002, three business suspensions of longer than 15 days have been handed down in Greater Victoria.

Monty’s is expected to re-open on March 31, according to its website.

reporter@vicnews.com