Trenton, N.J. – Trenton Police Director Sheilah A. Coley today announced the Nov. 6, 2020 arrest of six individuals who allegedly operated an illegal nightclub on 318 S. Broad Street.
The arrests were carried out following an investigation by the Violent Crimes Rapid Response Unit (VCRRU), which was responding to reports of an illegal night club operating every Saturday night past 3:00 a.m. At the time of the arrests, none of the patrons were wearing protective masks or observing social distancing.
Nyvonne Fahnbulleh, 38, of West Windsor, N.J.; Richardo Wedderburn, 46, of Levittown P.A.; Mechann Pennoh, 45, of Morrisville, P.A.; Lisha Phillips, 51, of Hamilton, N.J.; and Keyonna Chambliss, 37, of Trenton, were each charged with selling alcohol without a license. Steve Dasman Jr., 22, of Trenton, was charged with working security without a license.
“Illegal nightclubs like this one disadvantage our many legitimate businesses that are trying to make an honest living while keeping their patrons safe from COVID-19,” said Director Coley. “With Trenton cases spiking rapidly at this moment, the Trenton Police Department will not hesitate to break up any establishment that recklessly puts profit over safety.”
Prior to the arrests, detectives had conducted surveillance of a non-descript commercial building at 318 S. Broad Street. At approximately 11:00 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2020, members of the VCRRU and patrol officers entered the premises and found that the first floor was being used as a nightclub, which included a dance floor, bar area, and kitchen.
Six individuals, including the security guard working the front door, were arrested. Officers ejected 57 patrons and confiscated numerous bottles of alcohol and $3,276 in cash. Not only did officers find that none of the patrons were wearing masks or observing social distancing, the building is suspected of having numerous code violations, including electrical, sprinkler, and fire alarm issues.
Trenton COVID-19 infection rates currently exceed county and state levels and are doubling every week, showing a similiar rate of growth as the first wave of the virus earlier this year.
These charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. This is an ongoing investigation.
The lead investigator is Detective Christopher Franicevich, supervised by Lieutenant Darren Zappley.