MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Shelby County bar owner accused of selling and using drugs was arrested Thursday night when deputies raided his bar.
Investigators say Thorne Peters and his employees used and sold drugs inside Imbibrios Bar on Navy Road, just beyond the Millington city limits.
Peters had a lot to say as he was being hauled off to jail. (You can watch raw video of the arrest in the player on this page.)
"I have never used drugs in my life," he said. "I will take a piss test to that effect right now!"
A drug task force and Shelby County sheriff's deputies busted Imbibrios' bar in Millington Thursday night. They arrested Peters and two employees for selling and using marijuana and illegal narcotics.
"There were observed uses of drugs out in the open...rather flagrant and rather blatant," Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell said Thursday night.
Photos taken inside Imbibrios suggest quite the party atmosphere. Nearby business owners say there was a lot more going on than dirty dancing.
"Underage drinkers, back and forth, they go over there to buy beer," said Susan James, of the T&C Snack Bar. "This is my understanding: they bought the beer. Over there, the beer's free. You pay for the dope."
"A million dollar's worth of cops and nothing to show for - that's why we're the violent crime capital, kids," Peters said as he was arrested.
Peters hasn't always been in the bar business. In 1998, he co-founded his own publishing company. He's written several novels, a book of poetry, and recorded an album of original music. But the party going inside his Millington bar may cost Peters his freedom and his business.
"He said we were going to be out of business in six months," James said. "Now he's out of business."
Peters is being held on a $600,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on July 20th.