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November 19, 2012

The Other Place tavern probed for drug dealing

Federal agents infiltrated business, bought Oxycodone from bartender

HAVERHILL — Police are investigating the 24-year-old owner and manager of The Other Place tavern for allegedly allowing her father and a female bartender to deal drugs out of the Cedar Street establishment.

Local police and federal drug agents told the city’s License Commission last week they have been investigating the business formerly known as the 8th Street Tavern since summer 2011. The probe was in response to complaints from neighbors who suspected drug deals were taking place there, Haverhill Sgt. Dana Burrill said.

Police have asked the commission to revoke the tavern’s liquor license as a result of their investigation. After a hearing on the allegations Thursday, the commission voted 2 to 1 to continue the case at their Dec. 6 meeting.

In January, police said they received reliable information from a confidential informant that a man who identified himself to police as the owner of the tavern, Michael Chiarenza, 45, was selling Oxycodone pills out of the establishment. The tip said the pills, called “Perc 30’s,” were being concealed in paint cans. Michael Chiarenza has not been charged, but Burrill said the investigation is continuing.

City officials said Michael Chiarenza is neither the owner nor the manager of the business, however. His daughter, Laurie Chiarenza, 24, is in fact the owner and manager, officials said.

Police said Michael Chiarenza has a long criminal record including breaking and entering, robbery and assaults, but that his daughter Laurie has no criminal record. City officials said Laurie Chiarenza’s background was thoroughly checked by state alcohol regulators before she was approved about a year and a half ago to run the tavern, which is in a section of the city known as The Acre.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency eventually joined Haverhill police in its narcotics investigation of the business, and in April two undercover federal agents infiltrated the tavern to buy drugs, police reports and the agents said.

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