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Uptown Bar Shut Down After Raid

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A bar in Uptown was shut down after a raid.

The state calls it a nuisance bar with complaints about drug activity and late-night noise and has been trying to shut it down for years. On Wednesday, agents once again raided Ace's & Deuce's lounge on Fifth Avenue and shut it down — at least for now.

Agents from the Nuisance Bar Taskforce descended on the bar shortly after 1 p.m. and by midday, the Allegheny County Health Department had shut it down for numerous violations. But the investigation goes deeper.

Detectives from vice and narcotics, state police and agents from the Liquor Control Board descended on the bar en masse much to the delight of the bar's neighbor, the Bethlehem Haven Woman's Shelter.

The shelter for women in recovery has been one of the major sources of complaints against the bar for drug activity and late-night noise. Executive Director Annette Fetchko calls it a threat to the health and safety of her clients.

"There's crack smoking going on, drug dealing going on, the noise, the environment, public urination outside the building. It's just not safe for the community," she said.

Inside, the county health department cited bar owner Ben Cushin for "improper cold holding of food, inadequate sanitation and evidence of chronic recurring sewage." But the city cautioned that the investigation goes deeper.

According to court papers, over the past decade, the Liquor Control Board has twice tried to deny the renewal of the license, citing drug activity, but Cushin has stayed open after successful court battles.

In several phone conversations Wednesday, he told KDKA's Andy Sheehan this raid is one more example of harassment and he intends to reopen as soon as possible. Bethlehem Haven hopes that's not the case.

"We want businesses to thrive in this neighborhood but not businesses that bring harm and unsafe environments to this community," Fetchko said.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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