Spybar owner busted with 14 pounds of ketamine at O’Hare, prosecutors say

CHICAGO — The owner of Spybar, a long-running club at 646 North Franklin in River North, is once again facing felony drug charges after authorities allegedly caught him smuggling about 14 pounds of ketamine into the United States at O’Hare International Airport.

Dino Gardiakos, 43, has been on “second chance probation” since pleading guilty to a previous drug charge last June.

Cook County sheriff’s police and federal agencies arrested Gardiakos at O’Hare around 12:37 a.m. Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said. He was caught carrying 14 pounds of a white powder suspected to be ketamine inside six containers and a smaller pill bottle within his luggage, according to the sheriff’s office statement.

The agency said Garidakos admitted that he bought six kilograms of ketamine in London, and the seller told him how to hide the drugs so they would pass through a customs inspection at O’Hare. He allegedly told investigators that the 14 pounds of drugs were for personal use and for sale.

Dino Gardiakos is seen in his 2024 mugshot and in a Facebook photo at the club. (Cook County sheriff’s office, Facebook)

Prosecutors asked Judge Ankur Srivastava to detain Garidakos as a flight risk, saying Gardiakos did not have permission from the court or his probation officer to leave the state of Illinois “let alone the United States.”

Srivastava denied the request and released Garidakos with orders to surrender his passport and stay in Illinois.

He is charged with trafficking a controlled substance, possession of ketamine with intent to distribute, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

The case Gardiakos is on probation for stems from a raid on his West Town home by sheriff’s deputies and federal agents in May 2021.

At the time, prosecutors said federal customs agents intercepted a suspicious package from the United Kingdom addressed to Gardiakos and found more than two pounds of ketamine inside. The agents resealed the box and arranged for undercover agents to deliver it to Gardiakos’ home.

Shortly after delivery, agents received an alert that someone had opened the box, and they immediately executed an anticipatory search warrant on Gardiakos’ home that a judge had approved earlier, officials said in 2021.

Prosecutors claimed 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. Agents and deputies also recovered $25,000 in cash, narcotics packaging materials, a scale, ledgers, and other materials related to narcotics distribution in the home, prosecutors alleged.

Ultimately, though, Gardiakos pleaded guilty only to one count of possessing a controlled substance last June. The state dropped four felony charges that alleged manufacture-delivery and an additional possession charge.

Judge Timothy Joyce sentenced Gardiakos to two years of second-chance probation and ordered him to perform 30 hours of community service.

According to court records, just three months later, Gardiakos’ attorney asked Judge Jennifer Coleman to terminate the club owner’s probation early. She rejected that idea.

If Gardiakos completes the probation term successfully, the 2021 case could be expunged.

Original reporting you’ll see nowhere else, paid for by our readers. Click here to support our work.

About CWBChicago 6904 Articles
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