Gambling raids hit 2 clubs
Trinity Standard , April 2007
GROVETON – Two northern Trinity County clubs were raided last week by officers targeting illegal gambling operations.
The Pct. 4 Constable’s Department in conjunction with the Trinity County Attorney’s Office obtained search warrants for the two clubs following a joint investigation.
Hit during the raid on Tuesday, April 3, was O’Malley’s Club -- formerly known as The Shamrock and The Ranch Club -- located on Highway 94 East near the Angelina County line. A second club located on FM 357 in the Goat Hill area near the Polk County line also was raided.
According to Pct. 4 Constable Kent Blanchard, officers seized 79 video game machines – commonly called eight liners – at O’Malley’s Club and 42 video machines at the Goat Hill club. An undisclosed amount of cash also was seized by officers at both locations.
During the raids, officers also issued citations to all patrons found inside who were playing the machines. The misdemeanor charges against the customers were filed in Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Sam Blair’s court.
Under Texas law, operating the video machines is not illegal, but paying cash to winners does violate state gambling laws.
Blanchard said the investigation indicated both clubs were paying out cash. He added that the matter is still under investigation and additional charges are still pending.
This is the second time that officers raided the club that is now called O’Malleys. Last year, the club – then called The Shamrock – was raided by Texas Rangers and 76 video machines were seized.
During the 2006 raid, 10 Texas Rangers were part of a small army of law enforcement officers that simultaneously raided six businesses throughout the county armed with search warrants.
Coincidentally, the raids last year came on April 1, almost one year to the date before last week’s raid by local officers.
In addition to the Pct. 4 constable and his deputies, others involved in the raids included County Attorney Investigator Britt Gibson and officers with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Division, the Angelina County Attorney’s Office, the Groveton Police and Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Randy Barrett.