“If you were driving down highway 6 and you saw the building, there was no signage of what the place actually contained and it looked like just a building sitting there,” said Robertson County Precinct 2 Constable Benny McRae.
Looks can be deceiving...
“There was no ventilation in the building, it was very, very heavy stagnant cigarette smell, there was food condiments lined on a wall and the place was in disarray,” McRae said.
The health concerns surrounding this no-name building isn't what landed the owners in the hot seat.
“We were looking at possible drug activity and prostitution that was being reported coming out of this establishment,” added McRae.
The alleged illegal activity didn't stop there. After several complaints the constable’s office began an undercover operation and after two months of recording evidence inside -- they raided the place.
“We executed a search warrant around 11 o'clock Saturday night,” McRae said.” “Everyone was surprised to see us there.”
A dozen customers were allegedly inside gambling illegally on the 8-liner machines; 43 machines were seized and the thousands of dollars in cash inside the machines was too.
"These businesses generally operate gaming machines which are perfectly legal as long as individuals play for prizes worth a nominal amount, sort of like Chuck e Cheeses, and do not have cash payouts," said Robertson County District Attorney Coty Siegert. " Most often, these operations are located in gas stations which have a few gaming machines in the back. This particular establishment was determined to be operating solely as a gambling place with gaming machines that included a monetary cash payout."
“There was a sign inside that read, ‘We do not pay out in cash’ and that was posted on the wall,” explained McRae. “But the undercover officer that was going inside, every single time, he was paid in cash -- there were no questions asked."
McRae says the sign was a front; in fact, he says the “prizes” that the establishment was promoting for any winnings consisted of clothing detergent and other household items. McRae says each item had a rather large collection of dust as if they had been sitting on display for quite some time. No arrests have been made yet -- however this building allegedly isn't the only illegal gambling operation the constables office has its eye on.
The DA's office says the 'no name' building next to the Potato Shack at the 300 block of W. Brown Street with the blacked-out windows has garnered a lot of attention for illegal gambling -- and Saturday night it mysteriously shut down.
"The DA's office will be seeking to forfeit to the State of
Texas all the items seized. It is not this offices job to determine the
morality of gambling," said Siegert. "Those in the Texas Legislature whom we have elected have made this type of gambling illegal. Therefore, we as a prosecutor's office, sworn to uphold the law, are charged with enforcing and prosecuting any violation of the gambling laws."
Both businesses were closed and we were unsuccessful in reaching the owners.