IMPD: Problematic west side bar owners charged with corrupt business influence

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INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department investigation into problems associated with El Chila Sports Bar on Indy’s west side resulted in the bar owners being charged with multiple offenses.

El Chila Sports Bar is located at 6380 W. 34th Street, near the intersection of 34th and High School Road.

Gabby & Marvin Betancourt purchased the bar formerly known as ‘The Run Inn Bar & Grill’ in 2018. Since then, IMPD says the bar and its owners have given them nothing but headaches.

“The best way I can characterize it is – if there’s smoke there’s fire – and in this case we had all the indications that there was something nefarious going on at this location,” Captain Chris Boomershine with IMPD’s Northwest District said. “When we see disorder, when we see chaos, when we see criminal acts, we know that those are usually symptoms of a bigger problem and it usually has to do with the management and ownership.”

Police say that since December 2018 there have been 29 formal incident reports that have taken place at the bar, including — amongst other things — aggravated assaults, batteries, firearm/narcotic investigations, and an officer-involved shooting.

The officer-involved shooting took place in the early morning hours of November 14th of 2020 when a 19-year-old was allowed inside the 21 and up establishment when Captain Boomershine says the teen was illegally served alcohol and eventually pulled a gun in the parking lot.

“That incident never would have happened had the bar been properly screening its patrons,” Captain Boomershine said. “That was kinda the straw that broke the camel’s back. At that point, we felt that we had no choice but to take a deeper look into the operation of this business.”

After investigators turned their attention toward the bar owners, police determined owners Marvin Betancourt and Gabby Betancourt allegedly failed to remit the appropriate amount of sales tax and food and beverage tax to the Indiana Department of Revenue.

“We’ve had instances where we suspect the patrons have been over-served. We have fights that have taken place in the bar which turn into disturbances that usually go out into the parking lot,” Captain Boomershine says.

The rowdy scene was brought to life by hundreds of bottle caps, beer bottles, and broken glass littering the space in broad daylight… glass bottles sometimes even flung into the yard of Jimmie Simms who lives nearby.

“I’ve heard all of those things… and then some,” Simms said. “At night and on the weekends, it gets really loud… it’s hard for a person to sleep, then you got your grandkids and they’re up hollering and screaming, then you got bottles being thrown over in your parking lot and you can’t sleep around that… my hope would be that there’s not even a club there… there’s too many kids running around and at night it’s not a good environment. I just want a safe environment. That’s all we all want.”

Simms says he and his family have lived in the Meadowlane Condominiums for the last five years and have experienced only trouble with their bar neighbor across the street.

But its trouble Captain Boomershine says could likely end soon.

“That’s my hope,” Captain Boomershine said. “Is that the disorder or the chaos that was occurring there is coming to an end hopefully.”

As a result of the investigation, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office charged Marvin and Gabby Betancourt each with six counts including corrupt business influence and failure to remit food and beverage tax. 

Both were arrested on Sept. 27.

“This investigation demonstrates the extent investigators are willing to go through to address problem businesses,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor.

More details of the investigation will be revealed in the coming days. In the meantime, the bar is still allowed to operate – though IMPD is also in the process of revoking its liquor license entirely.

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