Police are searching for a former Redondo Beach liquor store owner facing charges for allegedly selling drugs to minors and molesting several teens.
Investigators say Bilal Joudi, 57, may have fled the United States after he was charged, and a $220,000 warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Joudi, the owner of Party House Liquor in the 1800 block of South Catalina Avenue, was arrested on suspicion of cocaine possession and possession of prescription drugs for sale in October, after receiving a tip that he was selling drugs to minors.
Investigators with the Redondo Beach Police Department said they observed Joudi during a drug deal, and it led them to a storage room where they found drugs.
Police also said they came to believe Joudi was having sexual contact with some of the teens who were buying drugs from him.
Those who worked near Joudi described him as a friendly man.
"He was very friendly and knew all of us by name," said Kelly Humphreys, who works at a pizzeria next door. "I would be very surprised if any of it was true, as malicious as they make it sound."
Three high-school-aged girls have come forward, but police believe he may have victimized more, Redondo Beach police said.
Seven criminal charges were filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
One South Bay resident said she remembers going to Party House Liquor when she was younger.
"When we were growing up, we would go there with our fake IDs to buy alcohol and stuff," Devon Norris said. "So we always knew it was kind of a sketchy, questionable establishment."
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Mike Green at 310-379-2477, ext. 2273.
Hetty Chang contributed to this report.