On September 10th, 2007, agents from the Alcohol Law Enforcement department used a search warrant for a single story, white-wood frame establishment located at 156 Bear Road, off N.C. Highway 242 in a local area near Benson.
Both the Johnston County Sheriff's Office and the state Highway Patrol assisted in the search. The officers apprehended about seventy-one people including establishment owner Marvin Ray Johnson and confiscated more than $70,000 in cash from what police officers described as a large full-scale gambling activity which even has customers from the neighboring states.
Ron Kaylor, Alcohol Law Enforcement's deputy director for operations, commented that this is the 1st one that they have seen in such scale for a long time. Investigators also confiscated a craps table, a roulette wheel, blackjack and poker gaming tables.
The facility also has a kitchen to feed the players. Most 71 players will face a misdemeanor charge. Johnson will face additional charges for managing a gaming establishment. ALE requested for a search warrant after they have received some complaints and finished their own investigation on the issue.
According to the warrant, complainants on the issue commented that the establishment was being used for different casino table games like Texas holdem, blackjack and roulette. The facility holds several major events annually; with big amounts of cash wager and forty to fifty people participating in the events.
An undercover agent from the Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency allegedly seen an illegal gaming in progress and said that the establishment was a "mini casino". The agent also allegedly claimed that the card dealers are telling the customers that they would not try to get all of their money.
Donnie McLamb, who lives near the establishment, commented that he had heard some rumors about illegal gambling in the establishment but was shocked about what the ALE discovered. The state of North Carolina has seen an increase number of police raids regarding illegal gaming operations.
Earlier this year, Lee County police officers raided the Kendale Service Center located at 15707 S. Horner Boulevard and confiscated eight containers of poker chips, cards, poker gaming tables, $275 dollars in cash, a slot machine and bottles of alcohol.
On May 2007, the officers in Buncombe County raided an illegal casino located at the back of a Candler grocery store and confiscated nine video poker machines. Last month, the police operation named "Operation Empty Pockets" confiscated sixty-four video poker machines from 60 different locations including private residences.
09/19/2007 02:51 PM