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Arrests Made In Illegal Gaming Bust

2:28 PM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
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Eastover, SC (WLTX) -- Acting on a tip, Richland County Sheriff Deputies went undercover searching for illegal gaming machines.

The Richland County Sheriff's Department said earlier this month they would begin cracking down on video gambling, Internet sweepstakes, or similar machines in Richland County.

Sheriff Lott gave owners five days to get rid of the machines after the South Carolina Senate passed a bill leaving no ambiguity that the machines were illegal.

Under the cover of darkness Friday morning, Richland County Sheriff Deputies were looking to hit the jackpot.

"What we are looking for tonight is any type of illegal activity of course illegal gambling machines, folks with warrants. Anybody doing any type of illegal activity."

Senior Deputy Kevin Lawrence is on the community action team tasked with powering down illegal gambling machines in Richland County.

"The Sheriff decided that since they changed the law that we need to step up our efforts in trying to stop this illegal activity," said Lawrence.

A Crimestoppers tip led to a different type of payoff for deputies at an Eastover night club.

"This is what we are here for, the purpose we are doing this operation. These are illegal poker machines that we are seizing," said Lawrence.

After a quick unplug, four gambling machines get wheeled out.

"We are loading up the truck right now with the illegal machines that we've seized, and we are going to take them back to the Sheriff's Department where they will be placed into evidence."

Deputies say the illegal machines were dispensing receipts where "winners" could collect a cash prize from the club.

The owner of the business is placed in handcuffs, charged with operating a gaming house. The Crimestoppers tips led to a total of twelve arrests, ranging from outstanding warrants to narcotics.

The Richland County Sheriff's Department says to call Crimestoppers if you have any information on illegal gambling or gaming machines. That number is at the bottom of your screen. 1-888-Crime-SC.

Since January 21, 2013 RCSD has visited 26 locations and seized a total of gambling 18 machines. According to the RCSD, the Eastover gambling bust resulted in:

-12 arrests
-14 warrants/charges were cleared
-$581.00 seized
-4 machines from club Climax in Eastover were seized
-10 machines from traffic stop on Wilson Boulevard and Summer hill 
-28 suspicious persons were contacted and a "field contact card was filled out" for investigative follow up later

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