PORTSMOUTH — Police Chief Thomas F. Lee informed the Town Council Monday night of recent incidents at two licensed businesses to determine if any action should be taken against the establishments.
One case involved a drug arrest in the parking lot of Fieldstones Grille on East Main Road, the other an alcohol licensing violation at the Island Tap bar in Island Park, said the chief.
The council took no action but thanked the chief for bringing the matter to their attention.
Chief Lee shared details of the incidents in a Dec. 30, 2013 letter to the Portsmouth Board of License Commissioners, which is made up of Town Council members.
In the first incident, Gardner Devos, an employee of Fieldstones Grille, 908 East Main Road, was arrested and charged with possession/delivery of a scheduled controlled substance on Dec. 4. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Devos was 26 and living at 66 Girard Ave., Unit 423, Newport.
“Mr. Devos was arrested after a more than a month-long investigation into allegations that (he) was distributing drugs from the Fieldstones Grille parking area during his work hours,” Chief Lee wrote. “Mr. Devos was arrested in the parking lot … after he ended his shift and exited the restaurant.”
A search of Mr. Devos found more than 12 grams of MDMA (also known as Molly or ecstasy), nearly six grams of cocaine, 230 packets of heroin, a digital scale and cash, according to the police chief.
Monday night, council member Elizabeth Pedro said she found the incident troubling. “It’s a family restaurant and it’s really disturbing to see that happened,” she said.
Chief Lee said Fieldstones’ management was unaware that Mr. Devos, who was fired from his job following his arrest, was dealing drugs on the site. He also said Mr. Devos recently pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to “eight years, with three to serve.”
Serving drinks after hours
In the second incident, Chief Lee said three patrons were found inside the Island Tap, 568 Park Ave., after closing hours on Dec. 5, 2013, in violation of liquor laws.
“During that incident, a police officer conducting business checks at 1:10 a.m. observed three patrons with alcohol inside the bar and asked the bartender if she was ‘getting them out soon,’” Chief Lee wrote, adding that the bartender replied “yes” and the officer exited the business.
“A second officer informed the bartender that everyone had to be out of the bar prior to 1:20 a.m. At 1:25 a.m., an officer observed a male enter the bar. The officer entered the Island Tap again and observed that three patrons remained inside the establishment in violation of the liquor laws,” he stated.
At the council meeting, Chief Lee said he spoke to the owner of the Island Tap, who assured him it wouldn’t happen again. He also said the establishment hasn’t been cited with any other violations over the past year.