Spybar owner facing drug distribution charges after federal agents, sheriffs raid his home, prosecutors say

Dino Gardiakos | CCSO

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 Friday.

Dino Gardiakos, the owner of Spybar at 646 North Franklin, must surrender his passport, post $25,000 cash to get out of jail, and prove that any money used for bail will not come from narcotics activity, Judge Susana Ortiz ruled.

Federal customs agents intercepted a suspicious package from the United Kingdom addressed to Gardiakos and found 2-1/4 pounds of ketamine inside, Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Burkhardt said during a bond hearing Friday.

The agents resealed the box and arranged to have it delivered to Gardiakos’ home in West Town yesterday by agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Cook County Sheriff’s 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 9 pounds of THC concentrate, one pound of Psilocybe mushrooms, and another quarter-pound of ketamine, Burkhardt said. Agents and deputies also recovered $25,000 cash, narcotics packaging materials, a scale, ledgers, and other materials related to narcotics distribution in the home, according to Burkhardt.

Gardiakos, 41, has owned Spybar for 16 years, his public defender said.

Friday’s developments are the latest chapter in the long-running dance club’s book of recent problems.

The city closed Spybar in February 2018 after authorities learned that it operated without a state liquor license for 20 months. But club management worked through those problems and reopened weeks later.

Now, on the very day that Chicago leaders are allowing businesses like Spybar that have late-hour liquor licenses to once again stay open until 4 a.m., the club’s owner is sitting in Cook County jail.

Gardiakos is due back in court on June 4.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com