One of the last hookah lounges shut down by Paterson authorities is now a daycare center – so what will become of the latest, which was closed before dawn Saturday after authorities slapped the owner with 20 violations?
Vice and ABC detectives, assisted by uniformed officers and city firefighters, found “various ignited hookahs pipes” when they raided the Besan Café on East Railway Avenue at 1:25 a.m., Police Director Jerry Speziale said.
They seized 69 hookahs and various accessories, as well as $1,657 in proceeds from the owner, Fhaid Abuawad, Speziale said.
Police also found a Pietro Beretta 6mm BB gun and a machete with a 16-inch blade, he said.
They arrested Abuawad, 35, on weapons possession charges and issued him summonses for selling hookahs being used indoors.
Firefighters issued 20 violation notices of their own.
“The establishment was closed and the department will seek legal advice as in other locations similar that disrupted the community and became havens for violence and illegal activity,” Speziale said.
“We will begin to look into [charges of] maintaining a public nuisance,” he said.
Community members had complained about the Besan Café, where a couple was shot shortly before dawn on Jan. 6, Speziale said. The 25-year-old Paterson woman and 27-year-old Newark man were recovering from their injuries, he said.
Mayor Andrea Sayegh was a councilman when he forced the Lava Lounge closed in 2012. That site is now a daycare center.
“I have a history of addressing illegal establishments,” the mayor said Saturday, “and so I directed public safety officials to take action against Besan Cafe for various violations.”
ALSO SEE: Paterson police seized more than 3,000 folds of heroin and nearly 1,000 Ecstasy pills while arresting three men during a raid, authorities said.
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