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Cops: Two speakeasies raided in South Philadelphia

Officers with the Citywide Vice Unit raided two alleged speakeasies Wednesday in South Philadelphia.

Investigators served search warrants at Caffe Italia, located at 1424 Snyder Ave., and the Mediterranean Café at 1426 McKean St., which has a storefront on Passyunk Avenue.

Police said they launched an investigation into the two businesses in April after receiving complaints of suspected illegal activity.

Officers seized from Caffe Italia 129 bottles of beer and liquor, a cash register, and $584 in cash, according to investigators. A total of 181 bottles of beer and liquor and $17,528 in cash was confiscated from the Mediterranean Café, police said.

Police arrested Caffe Italia owner Tonino Irace, 69, of the 1000 block of Stratford Road in Glenolden, and employee Canio Pascale, 66, of the 2000 block of South Woodstock Street in the Girard Park section of South Philadelphia.

Also arrested was Mediterranean Café owner Zoheir Mouloudj, 44, of the 1200 block of Lindley Avenue in the Logan section of Philadelphia.

All three men are charged with illegal liquor sales, while Irace and Pascale face an additional charge of criminal conspiracy, court records state.

Each man was released on his own recognizance early Thursday. The three suspects are due in court July 9 for status hearings.

Both Caffe Italia and the Mediterranean Café also house legitimate businesses, serving coffee during the day, according to investigators. Police said the cafes were not shut down Wednesday and were expected to remain open for business Thursday.

A man who answered the phone at Caffe Italia declined to comment Thursday. The phone number listed for the Mediterranean Café had been disconnected.