Two of the three people arrested in connection with an illegal gambling parlor behind their South side home deny any involvement in its operation.
San Antonio police arrested Refugio Rodriguez, 67, and his wife, Olga, 66, along with Shamsuddin Momin, 45, on a charge of gambling-organized crime. Records show all three were released from jail Thursday morning after posting bond.
The Rodriguezes said Momin is an old friend who came to them a few months ago, offering to rent out an old shed on their property on El Jardin Road.
Desperate for money, they said they agreed, thinking, at first, that he planned to use it to store some slot machines.
Instead, police said the storage shed became an illegal gambling parlor.
“We only get maybe $900 a month, both of us, in our Social Security,” said Olga Rodriguez. “The only thing I did wrong was rented out the place. But me and my husband took (the blame).”
In an arrest warrant affidavit, investigators said they suspect the Rodriguezes knew what was going on in their backyard. However, they said they believe Momin set up the operation and hired others to run it on a daily basis.
"I don't know who owns the machines,” said Refugio Rodriguez. “The lady that was here, she used to pay me the rent.”
The affidavit stated that the couple received $700 the first month, and $900 for the second month’s rent. They believe the operation was in business about two months.
Although there are three other people mentioned in the affidavit, there’s no word on whether police plan to pursue charges against them.
Olga Rodriguez said she and her husband were “the little guys” in the operation. Instead of going after the “higher ups”, she said police are being heavy handed against them.
"I told them everything they wanted to know, but they wanted me to say more and I don't know what to say,” she said.
The former migrant workers said they never meant to break the law, only to fix their finances. Now they’re at risk of losing their home and their freedom.