Knoxville bar employees arrested on drug charges, bar closed

Knoxville bar employees arrested on drug charges, bar closed

Posted: Updated:
Three employees are facing drug charges after Knoxville police raided the Big Orange Bar and Grill, 5512 Clinton Highway. Three employees are facing drug charges after Knoxville police raided the Big Orange Bar and Grill, 5512 Clinton Highway.
A petition for the closure says there is sufficient evidence that Big Orange Bar and Grill is a public nuisance and there is probable cause of criminal activity. A petition for the closure says there is sufficient evidence that Big Orange Bar and Grill is a public nuisance and there is probable cause of criminal activity.
William C. Brown (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) William C. Brown (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)
Rachel Ketelle (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) Rachel Ketelle (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)
George R. Woodward Jr. (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) George R. Woodward Jr. (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)
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By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A North Knoxville bar that District Attorney Randy Nichols called "an open sewer of criminal activity" was closed Thursday night.

Three employees are facing drug charges after Knoxville police raided the Big Orange Bar and Grill, 5512 Clinton Highway. 

A temporary injunction and restraining order was issued against the bar.

A petition for the closure was filed by the district attorney's office, saying there is sufficient evidence that Big Orange Bar and Grill is a public nuisance and there is probable cause of criminal activity.

William C. Brown, the bar's manager, and two employees, Rachel Ketelle and George Woodward, along with nine bar patrons were arrested in the raid.

Brown is charged with the sale and delivery of oxycodone and cocaine, and simple possession of Schedule III drugs.

The two employees are charged with the sale and delivery of oxycodone.

All three employees all have extensive criminal records.

The bar patrons arrested are:

  • Brian White, 22 - possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Crystal Collier, 31 - possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Melissa Howard, 29 - simple possession of hydrocodones, possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Michael Howard, 40 - possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Dennis Sayne, 53 - failure To appear warrant (theft of services)
  • Jerry Crum, 32 - failure to appear warrant (driving on suspended license)
  • Joe Hubbs, 42 - simple possession of methadone
  • Jeffrey Williams, 25 - possession of oxycodone for resale
  • Anthony Cole, 27 - possession of cocaine for resale

Oxycodone was said to be the main drug being sold at the business. Prostitution and illegal gambling were also allegedly going on at the bar.

"In the past several weeks investigators have conducted 11 undercover operations where they were sold cocaine and oxycodone," said Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owens.

Police say only 40 cans of beer were found in the bar during the raid.

In the past two years the bar has had 170 calls for police service, authorities say.

At least 15 of those calls came from Sarah Hynds, who works next door at Check Advance of America.

"I've seen several people dropping people off to get drugs and things like that," said Hynds.

The bar's owner, Kye Chae Kim and the owner of the property, Barbara Jean Shagan, have been ordered to appear in court on July 28 if they want to fight the injunction. If they don't show up the bar's shut down will automatically become permanent.

On Friday 6 News was unable to reach the owners. They may not be facing any criminal charges, but their business is the first bar in Knox County to be closed down for being a public nuisance.

"I am so relieved," said Hynds.

Businesses nearby hope the closure will mean safer and quieter days ahead. 

A recent health inspection gave the business a grade of 24.

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