A sweeping operation involving the Kenedy and Karnes City police departments and several other agencies led to the arrest of four people and the seizure of 25 eight-liner machines following a yearlong investigation into illegal gambling and money laundering activities.

Search warrants were served on May 28 at the Blue Diamond Game Room located in the 300 block of Sunset Strip in Kenedy as well as at a home in Beeville.

Those arrested in connection with the investigation face organized crime and drug charges, and include Elizabeth Sanders, 32, of Runge (possession of drugs and organized crime), Feng Chen, 27, of Beeville for organized crime, Yang Chen, 27, of Beeville for organized crime, and Corey McClendon, 47, of Kenedy for organized crime.

Other agencies involved in the operation include: the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Calhoun County Constable’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the Edna Police Department, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

“The state comptroller’s office was involved early on in the investigation and this was a multi-county, multi-jurisdiction operation,” said Kenedy Police Chief Richard Ashe. “They did a great job and this is a great example of multiple agencies working together and cooperating with each other.”

The case remains under investigation and additional charges may still be filed.

“We seized a lot of documents, paperwork and financial information that has to be analyzed, so other charges may stem from those,” Ashe said.

While other charges were filed when methamphetamine was found on one of the suspects, Ashe said the focus of the investigation was on gambling and money laundering, as well as engaging in organized criminal activity.

“The main thing that people misunderstand about (eight-liner) game rooms is that they are just not a place to play games, there is a lot of money laundering going on. That’s our main concern in these investigations, to stop that.”

•josborne@mysoutex.com•

 

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