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Washington County liquor board fines Cancun Cantina $2,500

October 10, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The owners of Cancun Cantina on Dual Highway in Hagerstown were fined $2,500 earlier this week by the Washington County liquor board.

The fine was levied in connection with events at the nightclub in July, when music was played too loud and police had to use pepper spray on disorderly patrons to restore order, said Robert L. Everhart, chairman of the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County, also known as the liquor board.

In addition to the fine, Cancun Cantina was placed on probation for 60 days, and the managers have to present a plan to the liquor board showing the steps that will be taken to fix the problem, according to a letter that liquor officials drafted Wednesday.

The owners have the right to appeal the decision within 30 days.

Joe Rouse, a co-owner of Cancun Cantina, said Friday he had not read the letter and could not comment.

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The liquor board could have revoked Cancun Cantina's liquor license, but "determined that a fine and probation, rather than suspension or revocation, will serve as a deterrent in the future," the letter said.

Everhart said Cancun Cantina officials would be called before the liquor board if they violate the conditions of the probation.

Establishments that violate liquor laws can lose their liquor license and be ordered to pay a $2,500 fine, Everhart said. That penalty, which is the maximum, is rarely assessed.

During a hearing on Oct. 1, the liquor board and the owners of Cancun Cantina met to discuss several noise complaints against the club from July to September.

Rouse told the liquor board that "none of this should have happened," and managers at the nightclub had placed on probation two disc jockeys who played music at inappropriate levels. Rouse also said Cancun Cantina would monitor noise in the future with a decibel meter.

Everhart said at the hearing that it was alleged Cancun Cantina had served alcohol to underage patrons as well, but that issue would be discussed at a later date.

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