MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Mission bar can no longer sell alcohol following an alleged human trafficking investigation.
El Rio Bar, located at 3609 La Homa Road in Mission, had its liquor permit canceled by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The owner of the two-story pink bar surrendered the business’s liquor license following an Aug. 9 meeting with TABC Special Investigations Unit agents, according to a news release from TABC.
The release states an investigation of the business began in 2020 after TABC received information about possible organized crime, including human trafficking happening at the bar. The bar was charged with multiple violations of the alcoholic beverage code, including drink solicitation, prostitution and sales of narcotics by an employee.
“By removing this bar’s ability to sell alcohol, TABC agents have cut off a major source of funding for criminal activity in the Mission community,” Thomas Graham, TABC’s Executive Director, said in the release. “Not only does this keep the community safer, but it also makes it easier for businesses who follow the law to operate successfully. I’m proud of the hard work of our investigators, and I’d like to thank the members of the Mission community who stepped up and assisted with this case.”
TABC agents say they also seized narcotics and observed several incidents of alleged drink solicitation, which “occurs when an alcohol retailer allows an employee to solicit drinks from a customer, typically above the customary price.”
According to the release, TABC investigators referred several potential human trafficking victims to organizations that offer help.