General Crime

* ABC Revokes Liquor License of Store Owned by Murder Victim Tong Van Le

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The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said today it has posted a revocation notice at a San Francisco market that was apparently being run by a person posing to be an owner, following the murder of the store’s former owner.
ABC representatives said they posted the notice today in part because an individual working at the market had been acting as the owner and collecting all profits from the store, including liquor sales, without proper approval by the ABC.  Novato resident Tong Van Le legally owned Nasser Market, located at 511 Crescent Ave., with his wife until he was fatally shot on September 13, 2008, according to ABC supervising investigator, Erik Szakacs. Afterward, responsibility for the store fell to Le’s wife, Phan Nguyen. San Francisco police inspector David Falzon said that soon after the murder, Nguyen hired an individual to manage the store while she tried to sell the market. But Falzon said that Nguyen didn’t see any profits after the
hire. “It was almost like a takeover,” he said. Falzon said he believes Nguyen was taken advantage of in part because she speaks very little English. He said that he could not release the name of the individual in question. After receiving numerous complaints about the market from the neighborhood association in Bernal Heights, police and the ABC began investigating the store. In August 2009, police conducted several undercover operations in which they purchased illegal narcotics out of the business on three separate occasions. The store employee who was acting as the owner was then arrested. After the September arrest, Szakacs said, ABC conducted a routine on-premise inspection when they discovered that the individual who had been acting as the owner was not the legal owner. The license was revoked due to false ownership, drug sales and violations of license conditions. Szakacs said that although ABC normally would have revoked the license without the option of selling it, both ABC and the police were aware that Nguyen had been victimized and allowed her to sell the license.  The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office brought charges against the employee acting as the owner for the illegal drug sales,
according to Falzon, but they were dropped roughly two weeks ago. A group of suspects have been charged by the Marin County District Attorney’s Office in connection with Le’s death at his Novato home. The district attorney’s office alleges the suspects killed Le to prevent him from testifying about a robbery at Nasser Market.

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