SEGUIN, Texas – There have been nine arrests and police said there are at least eight more to come after a raid on six businesses and a home in Seguin uncovered a string of illegal gaming operations Tuesday.
Police said stores paid out big cash rewards to customers illegally playing 8-liner machines. The community was stunned to find out store owners and their employees are behind bars.
Hidden secretly in the back of six convenience stores around town were 32 8-liner machines. One of the stores Seguin police raided, the Texas Cooler on North Austin Street, is around the corner from Daniel Delarosa's new home.
"I went to the restroom back here and it was pretty hidden. There was kind of a back way to it and I saw them there. There were people sitting back there playing," Delarosa said. "I'm from a big city and I thought this might be a small town thing, so I figured oh well, minding my own business."
After hearing the news about Tuesday morning's raid, Delarosa found out it's not a small town thing. It's an illegal thing.
"It's crazy," he said.
"I had no idea about it. It's kind of a surprise they did something like that," said Daniel Herrera, who shops in that convenience store about five times a week.
During the morning raids, seven people were arrested and two turned themselves in. The following nine are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity: 59-year-old Elizabeth Jerkins, 54-year-old Rosemary Luna, 51-year-old Muhammad Riaz, 28-year-old Tiffany Mendoza, 30-year-old Ahmed Ali, 36-year-old Adan Urbina, 23-year-old Alexus Garcia, 52-year-old Brennen Knight and 63-year-old Hope Horacefield.
One of those nine people, Mendoza, is Aniseto Luna's daughter-in-law.
"That's why they have a $50,000 bond on her. It's going to be hard for her to bounce back from that," Luna said.
Luna said police arrested Mendoza while she was working at the Texas Cooler on Tuesday morning. He admitted she may have followed orders to pay customers money when they won from gambling illegally, but he places blame on the owners who he said set up the operations.
"Take care of all the problems they created because these workers are not benefiting from doing this. They're just working, getting minimum wage," Luna said. "They’re young. They can convince them, you know, 20, $100. Pay them."
The owner of the Texas Cooler is still being sought. He's among the owners and managers of stores raided Tuesday who are facing charges.
While some of the businesses opened back up after the warrants were served, the Texas Cooler's doors are still closed. There's no word on when the store will reopen.
Seguin police said tips from the community helped fuel their monthslong investigation, and they hope the community will help them find the remaining eight suspects.
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