Alleged South Philly Speakeasies Busted

310 bottles and $18,000 seized by the vice squad.


On Wednesday, members of the Philadelphia Police Department’s vice squad raided two locations in South Philadelphia, shutting down what police have described as speakeasies.

Police seized 129 bottles of beer and liquor and $584 in cash from Caffe Italia at 1424 Snyder Avenue and another 181 bottles and $17,528 from Mediterranean’s of South Philly, located at 1426 McKean Street.

They also arrested three men (pictured, left to right): Tonino Irace, 69, of Glenolden; Zoheir Mouloudj, 44, of Lindley Avenue in Logan; and Canio Pascale, 66, of Woodstock Street in South Philadelphia.

All three men were charged with illegal liquor sales, and Irace and Pascale were charged with criminal conspiracy.

A Yelp review describes Caffe Italia as a “nice little espresso cafe … mostly used as a place for old men from Italy to play cards, smoke cigarettes, and watch televised soccer.”

According to a search of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s database, the locations do not have liquor licenses.

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  • Dresden PlayswithDeath Diaz

    Does the first guy remind anyone else of Mike from Breaking Bad?

    • Stuart Gotz


    • dfgh1991


  • Ryan

    I’d be more concerned about the drugs being dealt in Philly than a couple of old guys drinking. Seriously. What a waste of resources.

    • 1924 Immigration Act

      oh come on

      I pretty sure that the cops didn’t devote their ENTIRE man-power and resources to bust these soprano wannabes

      besides, they were doing something illegal, regardless of what it was.
      hence it had to be stopped.

      it’s like complaining that you got a ticket when there are road killers roaming around free.

      And if you haven’t noticed: two of them are italians and one of the two raided joints was a regular spot of italians > MAFIA???

      you never know…

      • CherryTraylingrif

        my Aunty
        Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  • Jake

    Such a waste of time and resources! There are plenty of thieves, murderers, and rapists to catch. It’s 2014, not 1924.

    • Matilda

      I agree but for some reason the dislike button was put on. You are CORRECT! It’s a waste of time go get criminals n drugs off the streets and the kids riding bikes in packs robbing people!

  • Nick

    Three old guys having a couple drinks, they go after them like the Untouchables. Meanwhile kids are dealing prescription pills by the caseload on every other corner and they do nothing.

  • 215philly

    these old heads are drinking the home made wine ….leave them alone

  • lea862

    Where the hell are the priorities? I’m appalled that these quiet old guys get busted when roving gangs of 40+ teenagers on bikes are allowed to parade around the city spitting on and throwing things at cars and terrorizing neighborhoods.

  • Stuart Gotz

    I’ll sleep easier knowing that the rampant consumption of Grappa has been put in check!

  • Matilda

    Seriously? That’s EFFEN NUTS! Drug dealers all over the effen city North, South, SW, NE, etc not one location the ENTIRE CITY and you go after clubs that sell beer?????
    get real! People are still doing the knock out terror I think that’s more dangerous than selling beer to older Italian men who play cards and socialize??? Get the Eff out of here!
    How many bottles of beer 144 people have more in their homes, and less than 600 dollars???? in the Italian Club I smell discrimination on the Italians……,Please!
    Wonder who took the beer home!

  • Mom

    DEPORT THEM. Bet they don’t speak any English either. They come over here to rip off American. Arrivederci

    • Antonio

      IL GOBBO

      • Mom

        Put them back on the boat and ship them out.

        • ethel

          I think you are so ignorant,maybe your family and friends are the junkies selling that sh#t on the corner s.

        • Michelle

          I didn’t want to respond because it gives merit to ignorance, but that offends my entire family as well as my ex husband and most importantly his children. I would like to tell you that these men so well liked in the community. They are good fathers and one is also a grandfather. My ex received a full scholarship to attend a university here. I guess his English was good enough to get him a degree. Is yours? Put away your computer and check yourself into the nearest psychiatric unit. Your bitterness stems from somewhere and the time you spend slandering the Italians could be spent soul searching. I would much rather live in a world of hard working people with accents than in a world with bitter ignorant people who spew hate and prejudice.PS You may also want to pick up a book on the history of America , the country you live in, and see by whose sweat this country was founded.

    • Matilda

      You are so IGNORANT!

      • botz2

        and you’re racist

    • LS


      • Mom


      • Josh

        vai a farti fottere

    • me

      They do speak English and very well I might add!!

      • you

        what does that have to do with anything

        do you know them

        my grandpa is a US citizen and he’s been living here since the early 50s and still speaks like he got off the boat yesterday

    • Mom of Boys

      Hey Mom
      So I guess your ancestors didn’t come from another country? How do you know that some of the men that hung out in that cafe aren’t US Citizens? Maybe you and your ignorance should be deported.

      • italianodamerica

        you should be deported for your lack of street-smartness

        this is how the mafia was born honey

        first some booze and (few decades later) JFK gets shot in the head

  • Antonio

    Forza “IL GOBBO

  • Gobbo

    Its all Gian Franco Saija’s fault

    • Stu Katz

      Gino Defrancesco is a creep

  • PSM

    Seriously Philly P.D. do you have anything more important to do other then arrest 3 old guys that are not bothering anyone. Why not try to put a dent in the drug issue in Philly? We are originally from the Philadelphia metro area, now in Northern VA, and a few months back we watched a show called Drugs, Inc. The program was all about the drug situation in Philly. So, my question to the P.D. is …Don’t you think your concentration should be put on the drug issues instead of picking on folks with some booze and beer??? To the Major, Mayor Nutter, how about going to the Northeast and demolishing those old buildings that house the addicts and sellers???? Instead of wasting your resources on old men and their speakeasies…Beginning to remind us of the years of Prohibition….

  • Gobbo


  • J Bart

    First off all the vice jobs(and pay) need to be validated…….second and more importantly, this country loves busting the small time law breakers and the thieves who destroyed and continue to, walk away unscathed………what a joke

  • Stu Katz

    Gino Defrancesco is a creep. Bringing in the cops to go against another Italian who just wants to run a little place for us to hang out. He thought he was a hero, he;s a lonely impotent creep who lost all his friends over bringing in the cops. F@*king creep!!!

    • glazer

      hey! easy there buddy
      i know the guy in question and you better hold your breath
      i bet that you weren’t there when he got conned by some guys at caffe italia
      well i was there
      they made him walk home penniless and they had a good laugh about it
      the poor fella
      i bet he didn’t eat for a week
      they had it coming
      that caffe italian is not new to shady acts…ask around

    • Silvia Puglia-Velykis

      So true and very well said.

  • Such a waste of tax payers money, for such a small amount of what is really a legal substance, Alcohol. The PA states laws on alcohol are out dated by nearly a century. Ridiculous when other states have beer, wine, and liquor in their supermarkets, Targets, Wal-Marts, and 711’s. Most people have more booze than this in their homes on Super Bowl Sunday and the 4th of July. Totally ridiculous. What the heck are they trying to save people from? a good time? a relaxing game on TV with friends? We all feel safe now. NOT.

  • buzzbye

    they go after a bunch of old guys? really? How sad. Instead of going after the ghetto trash that’s destroying the city they waste time and money going after these guys? Way to Ramsey. Loser

  • Bruce Stranix

    go 4 blocks south and lock the drug dealers up on 1400 block of Ritner street….these guys are not criminals , wasting taxpayer money with this bust

    • Matilda

      And right near a school! That’s an automatic go to jail card. Nope they turned their heads. If vice was watching the cafe why didn’t they call in drug enforcement they HAD TO SEE THE DEALS going Down but. Instead they focused on beer? Effen joke!
      Freckles get a life and NUT ter you are destroying this city bit by bit. Your term is almost up and you still hurt the little people. Raising home assessments AND LOWERING YOURS Mayor ( said jokingly) you are the worst we ever had this is why people are leaving. It’s gonna be another Camden soon!
      South Philly got hit the hardest why is that. Working blue collar who makes next to nothing and you raise property tax. You forget South Philly constantly unless it’s to harm us.
      How do you sleep at night knowing what you did to us. No conscious is the answer!

  • George

    Alcohol ? Come on. You aren’t making money with their lack of
    Liquor license so you attack.

  • Bogey Chronos

    How does this make the quality of life in South Philly any better and how much money did this investigation cost the taxpayers?

  • me

    Why do you take televisions suspended in the walls and cameras if it was a liquor matter???????????

    • Rich-D

      Because by law, Law Enforcement may totally strip a speakeasy of all cash, furnishings, equipment, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages! Essentially stripping the location bare! In one case a gum ball machine belonging to a Non-Profit was seized as well, and a PA Court upheld the seizure!

  • Joseph Milone

    Hay jackasses….go arrest real crimanals……..

  • Jeff S

    Next they will bust CVS for selling alcohol laced NyQuil

  • Johnny Dough

    I’m confused… 1426 McKean street is a residence… I used to live next door at 1428.

  • scemo chi legge

    oh my god thank you PPD

    now I can go meet my local dope dealer with no risk of getting run over by a 70-year old italian, stoned by his home-made limoncello

    south philly is much, much safer now

  • pumpy

    remember guys: this is how the mafia started

    it’s just some booze first and then JFK gets one in the skull.

    think everybody think

  • Consolato Italiano- Filadelfia

    Speaking on the behalf of the Italian Consulate of Philadelphia I’d like to express my deepest congratulations to both the PPD for arresting these crooks as well as to Mr. Fiorillo for reporting.

    Despite constant law enforcement efforts, Italian and Italian-American criminals have yet to disappear from our beautiful city.

    But, with that benign said, I’m glad to see that neither the Law nor the Media leave this criminal subculture alone and keep it constantly under severe scrutiny.

    There are rumors of a new Racketeering indictment under way to hit (once again) the local branch of La Cosa Nostra.

    We, at the Italian Consulate of Philadelphia, cheer every time one of our rotten apples gets what he’s due.
    This emotion is annually shared by the tens of thousands of Italian and Italian-American residents.

    So, thank you all again.
    Grazie infinite per la vostra dedizione alla lotta alla Mafia.

    Consolato Italiano – Filadelfia

  • C&M1987

    Never fails go after the Italians like this what a dissapointment to see Canio in a mug shot like that!! This man is not a criminal! Philadelphia PD should be investigating internal affairs and see what they find. NO worse then the huge sports betting that takes place