By Douglas Moser
---- — METHUEN — The Lawrence bar owner who rented the Sahara Club the night of the October fatal shooting outside the club was cited in 2011 for having more people in his bar than he was allowed, according to Lawrence city records.
Angel Sanchez, owner of Le Drink House on Essex Street in Lawrence, was fined $200 for being over capacity in his 1,200-square-foot bar, which has a limit of just 56 people.
Sanchez did not respond to a request for comment.
On Oct. 22, 2011, city inspectors counted 66 people in Le Drink and found an exit blocked, levying two $100 fines, according to Lawrence city records.
Le Drink's license is current and valid.
William Amann, an attorney for the Sahara Club, said Sanchez and one of the club's officers, Salim Lebbos, knew each other prior to Sanchez renting the Sahara on Oct. 22 for a private function.
Sanchez applied for membership at the private Sahara on Oct. 2, and the Sahara agreed on Oct. 18 to lease the space to him. He paid the Sahara $250 for the space on Oct. 22.
Amann has said that Sanchez wanted to rent the Sahara because Le Drink did not have the capacity for the party Sanchez wanted to host. There were between 100 and 120 people at the Sahara the night of Oct. 22, Amann said.
During the private party, Amann said, there was security at the club, with some with the Sahara and others with a third party. He declined to go into detail because police are reviewing the security detail at the club as part of their investigation into the shooting about 1 a.m. on Oct. 23.
Police believe the victim, David Rivera, 28, of Farnham Street in Lawrence, and his killer were both inside the Sahara before the shooting, based on video provided by the club to police.
About 1 a.m., just after the Sahara was to close, Rivera was gunned down on Greendale Street, across from the club. No one has been arrested.
Methuen police last week declined to provide the report on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.
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