Posted on: March 29, 2022, 09:16h.
Last updated on: March 29, 2022, 09:16h.
Three men and a woman were arrested recently in Corpus Christi, Texas following a police raid on an alleged illegal gambling operation. The venue was run as a game room.
In addition, 14 players in the game room, identified by local police as the Sweetwater Club, were issued warnings last week for illegal gambling, police said.
Those arrested were identified by police as: Madysin Kirkpatrick-Tazby, 21, Eden Pena, 26, Even Pena, 35, and Luis Sandoval, 34. Each was charged with gambling promotion, keeping a gambling place, and possession of a gambling device.
If convicted, each count could mean up to a year in prison and/or a $4,000 fine. Also, the three men were charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon. Police said they had handguns in their possession.
Cash, Gaming Equipment Seized
During the raid, police seized gambling equipment, two vehicles, and an undisclosed amount of cash.
“There’s been a misconception here in the last year or so that these game rooms are being operated legally. Just the fact that you open a game room, doesn’t make it illegal,” Corpus Christi Assistant Police Chief Todd Green told KIII, a local TV station.
What makes it illegal is when you start paying out cash money for rewards,” he explained. Any prizes given to players cannot exceed 10 times the amount to play the machine for one time — or five dollars, KIII said. The lesser amount is what is weighed by police.
The raid was undertaken by the department’s Narcotics and Vice Investigations Division. The investigation was the result of a tip made to police.
The Sweetwater Club is among many game rooms being investigated for alleged illegal gaming in Corpus Christi over the past two years, KRIS, a local TV station, reported.
“The Corpus Christi Police Department continues to collaborate with our local state and federal partners to investigate and combat illegal gambling,” the department said in a Facebook post. “Investigators will continue to enforce all Texas gambling laws, which will help accomplish our mission to reduce crime, reduce the fear of crime and to improve the quality of life in our community.”
Diverse Comments About Raid
The raid led to several comments on the department’s Facebook page.
For instance, one poster, identified as “Sj Rodriguez” said, “We can all sleep better tonight knowing there’s one less game room on the streets.”
But another poster, identified as Rebecca Ramirez, commented, “wow the majority of people in the gamerooms are over 65. ya like closing them down is going to help with violence. who cares that they are open? nobody forces u to go n stick ur money into the machine, its a choice. The only reason why its a big deal is because BINGO halls are complainng that they are not make the same amount of money. [sic]”
Prior Texas Crime
There have been other recent arrests in the state linked to gambling. For instance, earlier this month, a 22-year-old man was arrested for allegedly murdering a Dallas man. The shooting took place last month while the two were gambling in a private home, according to a published report.
Dearius Bradley was arrested on a warrant charging him in the death of Ronricko “Ron” Gray, 61, The Dallas Morning News reported. The slaying took place at Gray’s residence in the Far Northeast Dallas neighborhood.
The warrant charges him with capital murder. If found guilty, he could be executed or face a sentence of life in prison.
Texas has seen a debate over legalizing commercial gaming in the state. So far, opponents have kept it from getting approved. Some opponents say it will lead to increased crime and violence.