CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The owners of a North Charleston restaurant are behind bars for the second time in just over a month, after detectives raided the establishment and found drugs, guns and cash.
Authorities received information over the weekend that liquor still was being sold at Miss Sylvia's Sandwich Shop, 2401 West Washington St., said Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives.
The restaurant was the scene of a shooting last month. Terrence Wilson, 20, of Detroit, was leaving Miss Sylvia's in the early morning hours of July 7 when shots rang out from a passing vehicle and struck him in the shoulder.
An investigation revealed Miss Sylvia's was operating without a license, authorities said. Owners Emma Laughlin, 36, also known as Emma McNeal, and Rodney Armstrong, 43, both of Charleston, were charged with selling alcohol without a license.
Detectives conducted surveillance early Sunday and watched as a large group of people went inside. When officers tried to enter with a search warrant, those inside refused to open the door, Cooper said. A SWAT team was then called to the scene.
Cooper said the SWAT team was necessary because of the violent history surrounding the two and the establishment.
In addition to last month's shooting, Laughlin and Armstrong also owned the Madison Street house where four people were shot in March 2011. That shooting occurred during an after hours party. All involved survived the incident.
About 5 a.m. Sunday, SWAT officers forced their way inside and found a large crowd.
"Drugs had obviously been used, alcohol was being served and several people were pretty irate toward the police, as would be expected in that environment," Cooper said.
Several handguns were found stashed in trash and other places. Officers also found marijuana and multiple bags of pills, Cooper said. He said it appeared the items were ditched as officers entered the building.
"It was a very dangerous situation for law enforcement and a dangerous situation for the residents with people being shot (in the past)," Cooper said.
Also found were cups and other items that showed Laughlin and Armstrong were selling alcohol again. Investigators confiscated $2,000 cash.
"What we have discovered here is just an ongoing criminal enterprise," Cooper said. "This has been going on for years. (Laughlin and Armstrong) are well known to the Charleston Police Department.
"There have been numerous arrests over the years related to their after hours activities and there have been numerous people shot including the man just a month or so ago who was shot exiting the establishment."
Laughlin and Armstrong were charged again with selling alcohol without a license.
Officers from the patrol and traffic units were also involved in the investigation. Two officers suffered minor injuries during the arrest, Cooper said. John Robinson, 25, of Cleveland, Ohio, and Anwar Keaton of Brooklyn, N.Y., were charged with obstruction.
Cooper said the investigation is ongoing. The drugs were confiscated and are being tested. Detectives believe some of the guns may have been stolen.