11 arrested in Warner Robins police gambling investigation, records show

bpurser@macon.comJune 21, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Eleven people were arrested on commercial gambling and racketeering charges as part of a police investigation into illegal gambling, records released Friday show.

In addition, 45 amusement machine receipts, an undisclosed amount of cash, miscellaneous bank documents, summary vouchers and computer hardware and software were seized from convenience stores in Monday’s operation, according to a police report.

The arrests and seizures were made after search warrants were initiated by the Warner Robins police Narcotics/Intelligence unit, the report states. Other agencies, which were not named, assisted.

Police have declined to release details about the probe that Tabitha Pugh, Warner Robins police public information officer, characterized as an illegal gambling investigation. Pugh has said the information is expected to be released at some point. She could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

The records were released following an open records request filed by The Telegraph.

Following is a list of those arrested in the operation and their charges, according to print and online records.

• Manesh Patel, 36, of Warner Robins, an employee of Rocky’s Food Mart/Sunoco gas station at 203 Green St., was arrested on a commercial gambling charge. He is free on a $5,000 bond.

• Tushal Patel, 25, of Warner Robins, an employee of Davis Food Mart at 1202 S. Davis Drive, was arrested on a commercial gambling charge. He is free on a $5,000 bond.

• Bharatbhai Chaudhari, 39, of Warner Robins, who was listed on the arrest and booking report as an employee of Famous Liquors at 545 N. Davis Drive, was arrested on a charge of commercial gambling. A person answering the phone at Famous Liquors stated that Chaudhari does not work there but at the adjacent Fine Foods convenience store that has been closed by police. Chaudhari is free on a $5,000 bond.

• Maulik Patel, 21, of Warner Robins, an employee of the Bi-Lo Mart at 1310 Green St., was arrested on a charge of commercial gambling. He is free on a $5,000 bond.

• Asha Patel, 32, of Warner Robins, who was listed as unemployed on her arrest and booking report, was arrested on a charge of commercial gambling at Rocky’s Food Mart. She is free on a $5,000 bond.

• Jignisha Patel, 32, of Warner Robins, the manager of Rocky’s Food Mart/Sunoco gas station, was arrested on a charge of racketeering. She was being held without bond at the Houston County jail.

• Maheshkumar Amin, 30, of Warner Robins, the manager of Davis Food Mart, was arrested on a charge of racketeering. He is being held with bond at the Houston County jail.

• Dulce Castanea, 29, an employee of the Gift Shop at 1756 Watson Blvd., was arrested on a charge of commercial gambling. She is free on a $5,000 bond.

• Kiritkumar Amin, 34, of Warner Robins, the manager of Rocky’s Food Mart/Sunoco gas station, was arrested on a charge of racketeering. He is being held without bond.

• Bharatkumar Amin, 32, of Centerville, an employee of Davis Food Mart, was arrested on a charge of racketeering. He is being held without bond.

• Vivek Shinde, 32, of Warner Robins, an employee of Bi-Lo Mart, was arrested on a charge of commercial gambling. He is free on a $5,000 bond.

None of those charged who are free on bond could be reached for comment Friday by telephone.

The convenience stores where employees were arrested feature gambling machines allowed by state law as long as prizes -- and not cash payments -- are paid out to winners. Warner Robins City Council has tweaked local regulations of gaming machines over the past year in a bid to better supervise businesses that could use amusement games more as gambling machines, but it was unclear whether the operation was related to the change.

On Friday, yellow police tape surrounded Rocky’s Food Mart/Sunoco gas station, the Bi-Lo Mart, Fine Foods/Gulf gas station and Davis Food Mart. All were closed, and some had Warner Robins police officers in patrol vehicles parked out front.

Houston Editor Jennifer Burk and writer Christina M. Wright contributed to this report.

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