PILOT MOUNTAIN — A man faces a felony charge of continuing a criminal enterprise after authorities served a warrant at a Pilot Mountain pub.
According to Police Chief Darryl Bottoms, Cecil Anthony “Tony” Durham, 57, was arrested on two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of possession of non-tax-paid liquor and the felony criminal enterprise charge on Wednesday after N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement agents and Pilot Mountain Police officials served a warrant at Pub 109, a private club run by Durham.
At about 9 p.m. on Wednesday, authorities served the warrant, which was the result of a year-long investigation by A.L.E. authorities. Main Street in the vicinity of the pub was closed until about 1 a.m. on Thursday, about four hours.
Bottoms said a “criminal enterprise” was being run out of the establishment, which was founded in January 2015, citing drug and liquor law violations.
Another man, Preston Scott Ashburn, was cited at the scene for possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of marijuana and illegally carrying a concealed weapon, according to Bottoms.
The chief noted more charges may result from the investigation.
The club was operated at 109 West Main St., a property owned by Lynn M. Templeton and Kathy C. George.
However, Bottoms said the property owners had no knowledge of the alleged illegal activities taking place at the location.
‘They had no idea,” said Bottoms. “They are also victims in this.”
Templeton noted he and George, who are married, only learned of an investigation related to their property when they were called to the scene at about 2 a.m. Thursday morning. Police had broken a window at the pub, and the owners were called to secure the building.
“While we were there, I was surprised when Chief Bottoms stated that there had been ‘numerous complaints’ since the pub had opened,” explained Templeton. “No such complaints have ever been relayed to us by anyone.”
He went on to note that he and his wife are friends with surrounding business owners, and his wife has owned a salon in Pilot Mountain for about three decades.
“We’re not absentee property owners,” added Templeton.
As far as Pub 109 is concerned, Templeton stated that the lease agreement clearly states that the tenant business may not be a nuisance to anyone. That stated, he is reserving judgment until a court passes judgment in the case.
Durham was transported to the Surry County Detention Center following the raid. He has since been released under a $100,000 bond, according to Bottoms.
He is due in court on the charges on Oct. 16, according to the court calendar.
In 1999 Durham was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and served a suspended sentence. His record since includes convictions for the sale and possession of a controlled substance and DWI.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.