Hookah lounge owner caught drinking with teen girls, arrested

Hookah lounge owner caught drinking with teen girls, arrested (Image 1)

The owner of Samiii's Hookah Lounge near the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro was arrested overnight Wednesday after he was caught drinking alcohol with three underage girls.

According to the Murfreesboro police arrest report, the girls, two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old, admitted to drinking whiskey with Bassam Ihmaidan and she he provided it.

Murfreesboro police spokesperson Kyle Evans said, “[There were] actually juveniles consuming whiskey served by the owner/operator.”

“Two of the children are not old enough to drive yet,” he continued, adding, “Anytime you mix alcohol with 15/16 year olds only bad can come from that.”

According to police, the minors told investigators Wednesday night wasn't the first time they'd been to the hookah lounge, which specializes in flavored tobacco that is smoked using an instrument called a hookah.

Ihmaidan stated he was aware the girls were drinking alcohol but thought they were 18 and 19 years old and not minors, the arrest report stated.

He was charged with three counts of furnishing alcohol to minors and booked into the Rutherford County jail.

He has since been released on a $6,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court September 13.

Earlier this year, Ihmaidan, 46, was arrested on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after 13 people under the age of 21 were found drinking at his hookah lounge.

Four people were identified as being under 21, but older than 18.  Nine other customers were under the age of 18. 

Following his arrest, Ihmaidan declined an on camera interview but said over the phone his establishment is BYOB, which stands for “bring your own beverage.”

Ihmaidan said he does not sell food, beer or liquor inside lounge and because he does not sell alcohol, he does not check the identifications of all of his customers.

He, however, said he planned to check every customer's ID in the future to make sure they are age 21 or older.

Multiple messages to Ihmaidan following his most recent arrest were not immediately returned.

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