Townhouse Tavern targeted in federal cocaine raid
- Townhouse Tavern was raided in a federal drug sting last week. (Photo: TBD Staff)
On the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 10, Dominic Boone was escorted out of Townhouse Tavern, the longtime Dupont-area dive bar he runs and also resides above, in a set of handcuffs. Neighborhood blog Borderstan couldn't help but take note, as the whole thing went down in broad daylight on the 1600 block of R Street NW, but details were scarce until now.
Here's what happened: A joint FBI/D.C. Police task force had shown up to execute a warrant [PDF] in search of, among other things, "Cocaine ... paraphernalia related to the preparation, packaging, and use of narcotics, firearms, ammunition, books, records, receipts, tally sheets, money orders, bank records ... paper work linking the defendant to the premises, and any other evidence related to drug trafficking."
Authorities thought they had good reason to suspect Boone, known to friends and regulars simply as "Dom," of selling drugs. A known informant, an individual described in court records as someone who had provided "specific and detailed information about a number of drug traffickers" to D.C. Police, had convinced them that Boone was one of his dealers.
To prove it, the informant met two FBI agents at a nearby location a couple of weeks back and was subsequently "searched and found to be free of any drugs or money," the accompanying affidavit reads. The agents then handed the informant some cash, watched as he entered and then exited Townhouse Tavern a short time later, and subsequently received from said informant "a number of Ziploc bags" containing what turned out to be cocaine.
Slam dunk case, right? Not quite, as it turned out.
When the task force showed up last week to conduct a search, they did find a number of the items on their list in the third-floor apartment Boone maintains above the bar. Among them: "a smoking glass pipe with marijuana residue, a plastic bag with empty zip lock bags, a notebook, papers, mail matter in the name of the defendant, a rolled dollar bill with white residue ... and empty plastic bags with green and white residue." And in a locked storage room that was separate from the apartment, "a loaded 12 gauge shotgun." It was more than enough to place Boone under arrest.
But it wasn't, in the end, enough to sustain charges. With no actual stash of drugs in evidence, Boone ended up being arraigned in U.S. District Court a week ago for what amounted to transporting a firearm across state lines. That charge has since been dismissed, and after spending just a few nights in jail, Boone's already back home at Townhouse. Which is exactly where I found him Thursday afternoon, sporting a crisp white PBR T-shirt, relaxing on the patio with a cold beer.
When he took over management of the bar 18 months ago, Boone says he quickly discovered he had his work cut out for him to clear out what he describes as the "unsavory characters" who often came into the bar.
"When we took over, it was one of those issues we had to deal with," says Boone. "I wanted this to be a place where you could bring a date, and I think we're there now. But when we first bought this place, I wouldn't even bring my dog in here. We'd be cleaning up at night and finding little baggies on the floor."
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