District Attorney Jose Aliseda said that his office and deputies seized more than $17,000 in cash, contraband and equipment of criminal activity, and most importantly, the building and real estate.
Although no one has been arrested and charged yet, he noted that “the patrons present at the establishment were questioned and it is my intention to bring them before a Bee County Grand Jury to provide evidence of the criminal activity, i.e., gambling, occurring at the establishment.”
The DA stressed that his office would seize and seek forfeiture of property suspected of being used in criminal activity.
“The real estate owners of the property where these establishments are located need to understand that their property is subject to forfeiture to the state because of the illegal activity that is occurring in their buildings and they too could be charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a felony, for allowing this activity to occur on their property,” Aliseda said.
He added that additional raids, seizures and forfeitures will be coming soon.
“The owners, staff and patrons may consider themselves warned that these gambling establishments will not be tolerated in Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties,” Aliseda said.
These places have become public nuisances, Aliseda said, adding that their patrons are addicted to gambling and two robberies have occurred at them.
“They and their patrons are easy prey because of the lax security, and large sums of cash that are collected every night from the illegal activity.”
The DA’s office has been collecting license plates numbers from patrons while they are parked at these eight-liner establishments and intends to begin subpoenaing them to the grand juries to testify about their activities.
Also, law enforcement agencies are using undercover officers and informants to collect evidence of the illegal gambling that is occurring.
It sounds like owners and operators of these game rooms should consider their odds of losing everything, and know when to fold ’em. Aliseda sounds like he isn’t bluffing.