(Above) A DJ and crowd at Spybar prior to its closing in 2018. Images obtained from Spybar.
25-May-21 The owner of a River North dance club faces multiple narcotics distribution charges after accepting an international parcel that contained over two pounds of a popular club drug, leading investigators to find even more controlled substances inside his home, prosecutors said.
Dino Gardiakos, owner of Spybar at 646 North Franklin Street, was ordered by Circuit Judge Susana Ortiz to surrender his passport, post $25,000 cash to get out of jail, and prove that any money used for bail did not come from narcotics activity.
Federal customs agents intercepted a suspicious package from the United Kingdom addressed to Gardiakos and found 2.25 pounds of ketamine inside, Assistant States Attorney Brian Burkhardt said during a bond hearing on May 14. The agents resealed the box and arranged to have it delivered to Gardiakos home in West Town by agents from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Cook County Sheriffs Office.
At Gardiakos home, a man who identified himself as Michael accepted the package and told the delivery person that Gardiakos, the addressed recipient, was the only person who lives there, Burkhardt said.
Agents soon received an alert that someone opened the box, and they immediately executed an anticipatory search warrant on Gardiakos home that a judge approved earlier. The search of Gardiakos home turned up $240,000 worth of drugs, including more than 11 pounds of cannabis, nearly nine pounds of THC concentrate, one pound of Psilocybin mushrooms, and another quarter-pound of ketamine, Burkhardt said.
Agents and deputies also recovered from Gardiakos home $25,000 in cash, narcotics packaging materials, a scale, ledgers, and other materials related to narcotics distribution, according to Burkhardt.
Gardiakos (left), age 41, has owned Spybar for 16 years, his public defender said.
The developments are the latest chapter in the dance clubs book of recent problems. The City of Chicago closed Spybar in February 2018 after authorities learned that it had operated without a state liquor license for 20 months. But club management worked through those problems and reopened weeks later.
Gardiakos is due back in court on June 4.