URBANA — The owner of Home Run Food Mart has voluntarily agreed to suspend the store’s sale of alcohol pending the outcome of a city hearing on whether to revoke its liquor license.
Mayor pro tempore Charlie Smyth issued an emergency order suspending the store’s liquor license when, last week, Urbana police arrested its owner and an employee on warrants that had been issued earlier as a result of a three-week long investigation.
Store owner Ramzi Alsaqri, 49; his brother, Jameel Alsaqri, 48; and employee Mohammed Mahmoud, 27, are accused of selling $5 “brown bags” containing a piece of glass tubing, copper mesh and a lighter — items used to smoke crack cocaine — from the store on May 10 and 11.
Ramzi Alsaqri and Mahmoud, both of Champaign, were arraigned on felony charges last week and are due back in court with an attorney Friday.
Jameel Alsaqri, 48, of the 4000 block of Danbury Drive, Champaign, turned himself in to authorities and was arraigned Tuesday afternoon. He was gone last week when police served the search and arrest warrants. He is due back in court Aug. 7.
Meantime, the Alsaqris are due back in the Urbana City Council chambers on June 20 for the continuance of the liquor hearing. Their store at 1509 E. Washington St. could lose its license if Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Laurel Prussing finds cause to do so. The store is open for business but is just not allowed to sell liquor.
Smyth stood in for Prussing, who is out of town, at an initial hearing Tuesday.
Champaign attorney Ed Piraino appeared for the brothers and agreed to discontinue the sale of alcohol for the time being and said they would pay a fine to the city if they are found to be selling liquor. Smyth’s emergency order forcing them to do so expires on Wednesday.
Smyth said since Piraino was hired late Monday, it was appropriate to give him more time to review the evidence in the case.
Piraino said he also intends to represent all three in the criminal case.