Cary Police Bust Up Poker Gambling Hall
By Elliott West, Raleigh Chronicle News Editor
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
CARY - Cary Police say they have broken up an illegal poker gambling hall that was housed in a nondescript warehouse and have issued citations to over 40 people on various charges.
Those charged in the operation were simply written second class misdemeanor citations to appear in court and were not formally arrested.
Acting on an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip, the Cary Police Department served a search warrant at 233 "M" East Johnson St. on Friday, March 23rd shortly after midnight.
The bland looking warehouse where police say the gambling operation was located is in the Adams Industrial Park around the corner from Woody's Tavern in downtown Cary next to Happy Jap's Auto Repair. The auto repair shop was not involved in the poker operation, say police.
In a report on WRAL-TV, the owner of the Japanese car repair shop said he often saw 100 people or more go into the building.
In Friday's bust, Cary Police cited more than 40 people with various charges related to drugs, alcohol and gambling. No one was hurt during the raid, say police.
Upon entering the unit, Police say that the lessee of the warehouse space Matthew McCoy, 25, of Bulon Dr., Cary was found to be "running an illegal poker gaming operation."
In a phone interview with the Raleigh Chronicle on Tuesday, Cary Police Captain Dave Wulff said that the operation had been going on for at least a month and that the warehouse had been hosting large poker games up to five times a week.
"This was not just a friendly game of poker, this was a high stakes game for profit," said Captain Wulff to the Chronicle.
According to Captain Wulff, the operation took a cut of the games to make a profit and also sold liquor to players without a liquor license for additional revenue.
Wulff said there were six tables present with 10 to 12 seats at each table where the players played hands of poker. But there were no other gaming tables and regular casino items such as slot machines or roulette tables were not present, Wulff said.
According to a report on WRAL-TV, over $20,000 in cash was siezed from the operation.
Although many folks play poker for fun, the operator crossed the line when it was turned into a for profit business, said the police.
"While we realize and appreciate that many friends and neighbors enjoy playing cards and other games in good fun as part of their recreational activities, doing so for money simply isn't legal in our state," Wulff said in a statement to the media.
Police cited NC General Statute 14-292 which says, "any person or organization that operates any game of chance or any person who plays at or bets on any game of chance at which any money, property or other thing of value is bet, whether the same be in stake or not, shall be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor."
The warehouse lessee Matthew McCoy was charged with several misdemeanor charges including one count of gambling, one count of possession for sale of any alcoholic beverage without permits and one count of unauthorized possession of liquor.
The Cary Police also say that one of the players present was cited for drug charges. William Tillman, 45, of Valley Ct., Raleigh, was charged with one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and gambling.
Thirty-nine other men and women from around the Triangle and state were cited with a single gambling charge (listed below).
"We were prepared for anything, given that the tip we received suggested that we might encounter weapons, drugs, and large amounts of cash," said Captain Dave Wulff in a media statement about the bust. "Thanks to the assistance of our partnering agencies Alcohol Law Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Wake County District Attorney's Office and the National Guard RAID unit, we were able to halt the illegal activity without incident."
The Cary Police also said that heroin was found at the scene, but could not be linked
to any of the arrestees, so no one was charged with possession of it.
The Cary Police said that the gambling violations, alcohol violations, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana charges are all class 2 misdemeanors. A class 2 misdemeanor carries a maximum of 1 to 60 days in jail, a fine and court costs.
The following people were each charged with just one class 2 misdemeanor charge of gambling:
--Bob Elliott, age 56, of 620 W. Jones St., Raleigh
--Ivan Hsu, 26, of 12425 Carabey St., Cerritos, CA
--Marco Lugo, 24, of 1521 Wedgeland Dr., Raleigh
--Lawrence Wiggins, 31, of Longstreet Dr., Raleigh
--David Algood, 21, of Dan Maples Dr., Charlotte
--Tammy Watson, 42, of Greenmeadow Dr., Raleigh
--Dameion Rutherford, 33, of 4914 Highgate Dr., Durham
--David Bradshaw, 38, of 3810 Grey Harbor Dr., Raleigh
--Cecil Massengill, 61, of Church St., Benson, NC
--Rodney Strickland, 37, Aviary Circle, Apex
--Benjamin Dawson, 39, of Hilton Ave., Durham
--Peter Lenk, 26, of Manor Village Way, Raleigh
--Francisco Rivera, 43, of Streamview Dr., Cary
--Ian Dressel, 24, of Pennsbury Court, Cary
--John Schachte, 47, of Torrey Pines Dr., Cary
--Dena Wright, 28, of Landover Dale Dr., Raleigh
--Evangelos Liatos, 61, of Lady of the Lakes, Raleigh
--Jason Reed, 33, of Greenfield Dr., Garner
--Heather Honeycutt, 29, of Crescentview Pkwy., Raleigh
--Joseph Turecky, 37, of Caudia Lane, Cary
--Thongsavanh Vongprachanh, 33, of Summit Park Blvd., Apex
--Johnny Lyons, 32, of Burgess Circle, Broadway
--Karim Olweean, 25, of Vista View Court, Raleigh
--Brett Marshall, 35, of Cottage Circle, Raleigh
--Matthew Jennings, 28, Mclemor Dr., Clayton
--Lorimer Covington, 70, of W. Main St., Garner
--Brian Vick, 25, of Big Sandy Dr., Raleigh
--Nishant Patel, 29, of Adelaide Road, Holly Springs
--Diane Smith, 51, of Kingfield Dr., Apex
--George Smart, Jr., 45, of Williamsbury Lane, Durham
--William Rich, Jr., 30, of Sterling Park Dr., Raleigh
--Raymond Gunter, Jr., 28, of Grimm St., Sanford
--Harold McClain, 41, of Calibre Clase Dr., Raleigh
--Benjamin Phillips, 24, of Bebington Dr., Cary
--John O'Connor, 21, of Song Sparrow Dr., Wake Forest
--Oliver Prince, 27, of Edgewater Dr., Broadway
--Paul Smith, 51, of Kingfield Dr., Apex
--Gregory Gunter, 27, of Bradley Rd., Sanford
--Edward Brown, 41, of Glen Bonnie Lane, Cary ::