Police raid club owned by East Cleveland councilman; find guns, drugs and strippers inside

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EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio -– The vice president of East Cleveland City Council was arrested this week after police raided a club he managed where strippers, drugs and guns were found, according to investigators.

Ward 3 Councilman Ernest Smith was charged for operating an establishment without a liquor permit, which is a misdemeanor.

East Cleveland Police raided the club at 16379 Euclid Avenue around 4 a.m. on Wednesday after an investigation spanning several weeks, according to investigators.

In addition to liquor and strippers, an incident report states police found five handguns, ammunition, $830 in cash and suspected crack cocaine.

The back door of the building that was raided has signage reading “The O.P.N.” and “E.C. City Councilman Ernest L. Smith.”

Police said the councilman was the only person arrested, but several strippers were questioned.

Smith, who leads an organization called Oppressed People’s Nation, has served on city council since his appointment in 2017.

Police said Smith was released from jail late Wednesday morning on waiver.

The investigation remains ongoing, and East Cleveland Police planned to meet with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office next week to review the case.

Investigators said additional charges are possible.

Smith did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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