Fourteen arrested in gambling raid in SE Houston

July 21, 2010 9:48:14 AM PDT
An overnight poker game was interrupted by undercover officers and FBI agents in southeast Houston. Over a dozen people were arrested, accused of taking part in an illegal gambling operation.

It happened around 10:30pm at a shopping center on the Gulf Freeway and Fuqua. Undercover FBI agents and deputies from the Harris County Sheriff's Office conducted the raid.

There are countless shopping strip centers in the Houston area, but the difference for this one is that law enforcement believed an illegal gambling operation was being run out of one of the storefronts.

We talked to neighboring businesses who have seen everything from beer bottles to adult entertainment fliers here in the parking lot, and although they have never been inside the establishment, they sensed that something was wrong.

"In the morning, when I come into work and see a lot of beer bottles and trash in the parking lot," said Betty Garland.

"Our concern was flat tires, things of that nature. Sometimes we have people come in with children and so that's where the fliers were a concern," said Harrison Hall. "You don't want somebody's kid picking up a flier saying XXX."

For workers at neighboring businesses we talked to, there were no direct conflicts with the business at this Gulf Freeway address, but some of them were suspicious about what was going on there.

The FBI, Harris County Sheriff's Office and Houston police confirmed their suspicions with a late night raid, taking 14 people into custody that they believe were working at a poker house. There was no sign on the door, but extra security cameras and plenty of traffic in the parking lot.

Neighboring workers are hoping any potential problems have been solved.

"Just the safety aspect of it, that sort of thing," said Garland.

In addition to the arrests, law enforcement told us that an undisclosed amount of cash was recovered along with other evidence.

The district attorney is in the process of filing charges against the suspects for various gambling offenses.

The raid was the result of work done by the Multi-Agency Gang Task Force and Violent Crimes Task Force.


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