123 arrested, including owner of Charlotte club where homicide took place, in statewide crackdown

The owner of a Charlotte strip club where a man was shot and killed two weeks ago was arrested in a statewide crackdown that netted 123 arrests for crimes related to alcohol, drugs, guns and gambling.

The owner of Club Nikki's Cory Headen was taken into custody along with three of his employees "in connection" with the shooting and homicide at the club. It is unclear how investigators believe they are connected.

Not far away, ALE special agents had the permits for the Freedom Lounge revoked. A truck was parked outside but nobody answered. Inside, the club posts a list of rules. The last one, number 11, reads: "No violence of any kind." Despite that warning, ALE agents say the nightclub has "a history of violence and criminal activity."

FOX 46 put in a request for calls for service to the club with CMPD for the past year to see what alleged crimes have been reported at this location. 

RELATED: Statewide drug, alcohol and firearm crackdown nets 123 arrests, 237 charges

"When those laws are purposefully violated, the health and safety of our communities is at risk," said Bryan House, the acting head of North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement. "To address these violators, we won't hesitate to use all available manpower as we did this past weekend."

ALE special agents targeted more than a dozen counties, including Mecklenburg and Iredell. Locally, 34 arrests were made and seven guns seized. Statewide, investigators recovered riles, sawed-off shotguns and more than $20,000 in cash. 

Statewide, eight search warrants were excuted; 14 firearms were seized along with drugs and two illegal distilleries. Of the 237 charges, 93 were alcohol related, 77 were drug-related and six were for gambling. 


ALE investigators raided a convenience store "operating as an illegal casino" and seized video gaming machines in Greesnboro. Three people from two businesses were charged with "felonious operation and possession of five or more gaming machines and gambling," ALE tweeted, calling it an "ongoing operation"

In Bladen County, two illegal casinos were raided. 

This comes weeks after FOX 46 went undercover to expose "internet sweepstakes cafes" and "arcades" where gambling takes place. The businesses are technically illegal but owners skirt the law by exploiting a loophole. 

The type of video gaming machines, uncovered by FOX 46 in arcades and backroom casinos, are the same thing ALE agents made arrests for this weekend. 

The new crackdown is meant to disrupt establishments where illegal gambling is occurring.

Agents say their put a "serious dent in the criminal and often violent activity" associated with illegal clubs and businesses. 

Statewide, 26 businesses that sell alcohol are being reported to the state for criminal and regulatory violations that could lead to fines, suspensions or revocation of permits.