Gambling raids continue in Pct. 4
Trinity Standard , April 2007
GROVETON – A third northern Trinity County business was hit by local law enforcement officers last week during the continuation of a series of raids targeting illegal gambling.
An establishment known as “The Barn,” located on Highway 94 near the Trinity-Angelina county line, was raided Thursday, April 12, in a joint investigation conducted by the Trinity County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office and the Trinity County Attorney’s Office.
As was the case in the two previous raids conducted on April 3, last week’s action came after an undercover investigation indicated that the business was paying cash prizes to winners playing electronic video games – sometimes known as eight liners.
While playing or operating the video games is not illegal, state law does prohibit rewarding winners with anything other than token prizes. Paying cash to winners constitutes gambling under current Texas law.
Pct. 4 Constable Kent Blanchard said 43 of the electronic video machines were seized during the raid along with an undisclosed amount of cash.
All of the patrons found in the business during the raid were issued misdemeanor citations and will be required to appear before Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Sam Blair.
Blanchard said one arrest was made during the raid by Pct. 4 Deputy Constable David Ford for a possession of marijuana charge. Additional criminal charges are pending against the owner-operators of the business.
Earlier in the month, the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office and the Trinity County Attorney’s Office coordinated raids at two other northern Trinity County clubs. Targeted with search warrants in those raids were O’Malley’s Club (formerly known as The Shamrock and The Ranch Club) on Highway 94 near the Angelina County line and an unnamed club located in the Goat Hill community near the Polk County line.
Blanchard said officers seized 79 of the video machines at O’Malley’s Club and 42 machines at the Goat Hill Club.
The current series of illegal gambling raids comes just over one year after the Texas Rangers simultaneously raided six businesses located throughout Trinity County on April 1, 2006.
Assisting the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office and the Trinity County Attorney’s office in the recent raids were officers from the Law Enforcement Division of the U.S. Forest Service, the Groveton Police Department and Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Randy Barrett.