Eight arrested in gambling sting in Houston County

bpurser@macon.comJanuary 3, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- State and local authorities raided 14 businesses and homes in Houston County on Friday for alleged violations of the state’s gambling laws.

Eight people were arrested in the sting, according to a GBI news release. Authorities also seized “monetary assets” gained from use of the coin-operated gambling machines.

All of the locations that had the gambling machines were licensed with the state but were allegedly paying out cash for winning credits, the release stated. State law allows for the credits to be redeemed only for lottery tickets and store merchandise.

“This is widespread across Georgia,” said GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang.

The following people were charged with felony commercial gambling: Byron resident Rose E. Khalil, 57, and Warner Robins residents Shirley Mitchell, 53; Jagruti D. Patel, 37; Hinaben D. Patel, 34; Hargovindbhai Patel, 73; Zenaida M. Maston, 69; Craig Lucky, 42; and Andrew Jason Hickey, 27.

The Warner Robins businesses that were raided were: Dev’s Gifts & Games, 1220 Russell Parkway; Dev’s Food Mart, 413 Belmont Drive; DJ’s Gifts & Games, 789 Ga. 96; Ignite Bar and Grill, 1281 S. Houston Lake Road; Consignment Shop, 1760 Watson Blvd.; Gifts & Gifts, 813 N. Houston Road; Elberta Flowers, 2108 Elberta Road; Express Stop #2, 914 Russell Parkway; and Right Fuel, 2403 Watson Blvd.

Two Centerville businesses were also searched: Dev’s Gifts & Games, 100 N. Houston Lake Road, and DMZ Gifts and Amusement Games, 100 N. Houston Lake Road.

The Warner Robins residences that were raided included one apartment at 301 Corder Road, one apartment at 100 Robins West Parkway and a home in the 200 block of Featherstone Drive.

The sting was conducted by the GBI, Warner Robins police, Centerville police, Houston County sheriff’s deputies and the Georgia Department of Revenue in cooperation with the Georgia Lottery Corp.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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