Fort Worth

His cocaine-friendly Fort Worth nightclub was lucrative — and no stranger to police

Before his indictment and guilty plea on money-laundering and drug charges this week, Alfred Hinojosa's popular Fort Worth nightclub was no stranger to law enforcement: Police had made 19 drug arrests at the OK Corral at La Gran Plaza since 2014, all for cocaine possession or distribution, said Lt. Paula Fimbres, police spokeswoman.

In one case, officers seized 17 1/2 grams of cocaine.

The club was also fined $3,000 in February by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for selling alcohol to a minor, spokesman Chris Porter said. The TABC this week was also completing an additional investigation into Hinojosa's clubs, which remain open.

On Thursday, Fort Worth police pulled off all of its officers from working off-duty jobs at the club, Fimbres said.

Hinojosa, 57, of Dallas, ran an "empire" of nightclubs, according to a federal indictment, including the OK Corral in Fort Worth and the OK Corral, Far West and Medusa clubs in Dallas.

The clubs, which are popular tour stops for regional Mexican bands, raked in more than $100 million from 2014 to 2016, the indictment said.

During that time, Hinojosa allowed dealers to sell cocaine in the clubs' bathrooms to keep business booming.

"We can't really clean it [up] because then we lose business," Hinojosa said in a recording obtained by authorities, according to the indictment.

Hinojosa was also accused of laundering money for the purchase of a tour bus for one of the bands. Ten other defendants were indicted in the case, including two former Dallas police officers who worked security for Hinojosa. The officers pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their involvement with Hinojosa.

Hinojosa's attorney, Frank Perez, declined to comment on the case this week.

Guns firing, tires burning

Guns being fired into the air, the smell of burned rubber from tires in the parking lot, a tap on the shoulder by a drug dealer asking if you wanted cocaine: That's how a nearby business owner and former patron of the OK Corral nightclub in south Fort Worth described the atmosphere.

"It's not really a unique thing," said the business owner, who asked not to be identified. "A lot of the Mexican clubs and cantinas around here have drugs in them."

The business owner said the drug sales at OK Corral were straightforward.

"There's two restrooms. One in the front and one in the back of the club," he said. "You go into the restroom and while you're at the stall you'll get a tap on the shoulder."

The business owner said there was pretty much one drug of choice: "Cocaine. There were some other drugs but normally cocaine."

A crew of "certain selected" dealers sold $20 baggies of cocaine -- sometimes up to 200 a weekend -- according to the indictment.

The business owner said the parking lot of the Fort Worth OK Corral is typically packed and full of activity on weekends and holidays.

"After 2 a.m. they'll be in the parking lot burning tires. They have guns pointed in the air shooting, but I haven't heard of anyone being shot there," said the business owner. "They're usually only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but during the Thanksgiving holiday they were open almost the whole week."

PTA donation

Even with an indictment looming, Hinojosa apparently stayed involved with OK Corral.

The Fort Worth school district on Thursday confirmed that Hinojosa made a $5,000 donation from OK Corral to the PTA at nearby Worth Heights Elementary School in October.

A photo posted on Facebook by the PTA showed what appeared to be Hinojosa and a business partner presenting a giant check, which had the OK Corral logo on it.

The school district was aware of the donation, but the PTA raises its own funds, district spokesman Clint Bond said in a statement.

"PTAs are free-standing, nonprofit organizations and are not a legal function of the actual district," Bond said. "Yes, the district was aware that the donation was made, but again, it was to the PTA."

The donation was used to buy reading software programs, Bond said.

Ryan Osborne: 817-390-7684; Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST