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Amherst police investigating possible illegal bar, underground fraternity

Police are investigating the possibility that an illegal bar is operating from a home just south of the University of Massachusetts campus.

Police Detective Lt. Ronald Young said Tuesday that police obtained a search warrant for the rented house at 11 Phillips St. Eight officers were at the scene throughout the morning, he said.

The police investigation was launched after the house was identified by neighbors as a “perennial problem” and source for disturbances. “Specific complaints have been made to community policing officers about quality of life issues,” Young said. The people living in the house may be part of an underground fraternity not affiliated with the university, Young said. He said he would have more information at mid week about whether charges will be filed.

The property is owned by Knight Properties LLC, a company managed by Stephan Gharabegian of Lexington.

In March, a police and fire response to a Gharabegian property on College Street discovered a living room floor on the verge of collapse and smoke detectors either missing or not working. The tenants had to vacate the property until the issues were resolved.

This is not the first time police have targeted illegal alcohol sales. In April 2010, police summoned three UMass students to court on charges of illegal sales of alcoholic beverages after they were found running a bar from their off-campus residence, also on Phillips Street. At that time, police found evidence that 200 partygoers were paying two doormen $5 for access to the house.

Undercover officers were able to get inside the residence, where they confiscated the money and shut down a bar.

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