14 facing charges in gambling raids in 2 south GA counties - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

14 facing charges in gambling raids in 2 south GA counties

Investigators in two counties have arrested eight convenience store manager for illegal gambling operations and they've issued warrant for another six.

Those arrests came after investigators raided a half dozen convenience stores in Mitchell and Grady Counties Thursday night.

Investigators seized thousands in cash, vehicles, and bank records.

Both the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office and Cairo Police had help from the Dougherty County District Attorney's Office with their cases. Investigators call this an ongoing investigation and say at least one person won as much as $6,000 from the illegal gambling operations.

Investigators in Mitchell County seized gambling machines and several vehicles from the One Way Convenience Store on Highway 37 in Camilla and PJ's Grocery in Baconton Thursday night. Friday they prepared warrants for six men and women.

"Most of these machines are legal, that's my understanding, but when they start paying out in cash is when they start commercial gambling, and all these charges will be commercial gambling," said Sheriff W.E. Bozeman, Mitchell County.

They now believe gambling operations at the two stores were paying out tens of thousands on the machines.

"We seized money, we seized gaming machines, vehicles, any proceeds we can prove that's been paid for or whatever from this commercial gambling is seizeable," said Bozeman.

Tips have poured into the Sheriff's office over the last two years.

"I know one in particular, husband would go gamble up all of his paycheck and then go home broke," said Bozeman.

Now they want to know if what's gone on in Mitchell County is linked to raids that happened simultaneously in Cairo. Four locations including the Cairo Food Mart and the Petro on Highway 84 and Hud's on Fifth Street Southeast along with the Cairo Mart on Fourth Street Southwest were closed today to customers surprise.

"Yeah, they're all locked up with a chain," said Carla Lee, a concerned citizen.

Cairo Police released this list of eight people they've arrested but the Grady County Sheriff's office was unable to send us their mug shots. Customers say they've seen some questionable activity.

"Yeah, lots of cars, there was a back room over there, lost of cars in the parking lot and nobody inside, you know it was kinds of funny," said Lee.

They're glad police have put an end to the questionable activity and question where the money was going?

"It happens in your own back yard and have the time you don't even know what's going on," said Ponder Gibner, a concerned citizen.

Investigators say it could be next week before the investigation is complete and all arrests were made.

Investigators say they won't likely go after players. The store managers will face felony commercial gambling charges.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

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