City Attorney, SFPD shut down second illegal nightclub operating during pandemic

As SF sees concerning rise in COVID-19 cases, illegal nightclub is shut down before the start of the long Fourth of July weekend

SAN FRANCISCO (July 3, 2020) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Police Chief William Scott announced today that they have shut down a second underground nightclub operating in violation of a public health order requiring bars and nightclubs to remain closed to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera

Herrera secured a civil inspection and abatement warrant from a judge yesterday, Thursday, July 2, 2020 to shut down the illegal club for violating San Francisco’s stay-safe-at-home public health order. That afternoon, officers from SFPD’s Tactical Unit and Bayview Station executed the warrant, entering the building at 1610 Armstrong Ave. and confiscating four gambling machines, a pool table, a fog machine, DJ equipment, 50 barstools, and other nightclub equipment and material.

A City Attorneys’ Office investigation has revealed that the underground club on Armstrong Avenue was being run by the same people who had been operating another illegal club at 2266 Shafter Ave. in the Bayview neighborhood in defiance of the health order. The City Attorney’s Office in coordination with the Police Department shut down the Shafter Avenue club on April 11, 2020. The confiscated equipment from that club remains in police custody. At both locations the buildings were rented by Mariano Pena, also known as Mariano Pena Lezama, ostensibly for use by a cleaning company called Bay Area Pinnacle Cleaning, LLC. Pena’s daughter, Yeinny Martinez, came to the scene after both raids. Martinez identified either herself or her father as the leaseholder at both illegal nightclubs and said in a June 19 email to a city official that “we a afterparty” (sic).

“These illegal nightclub operators are endangering people’s lives,” Herrera said. “We’re not going to let that happen. Our focus right now is on removing the immediate threat to public health. We are going to use every tool at our disposal, including these types of civil warrants, to shut down illegal clubs and protect public health during this pandemic. Everybody who has been doing the right thing in this health emergency deserves no less. San Francisco is seeing a concerning increase in COVID-19 cases. Group gatherings like this are a problem. If you see something like this in your neighborhood, please call our Code Enforcement Hotline at 415-554-3977. If you’re a commercial property owner, please be careful about who you rent to and mindful about what’s going on at your property.”

Criminal prosecutions are the responsibility of the District Attorney. The City Attorney has authority over civil law, including the power to address public nuisances that threaten health and safety, like illegal nightclubs.

At 1610 Armstrong Ave., the property owner has fully cooperated with the investigation. During City Attorney’s Office surveillance over two nights (June 26 and June 27), multiple people in club attire were seen entering and exiting the industrial building. Loud music was heard. Witnesses said about 75 people a night had been seen entering the industrial building on weekends during the pandemic.

If you have information about any other type of business or others violating the stay-safe-at-home order during this public health emergency, please contact 311. You can find more information about what to do here.

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