Casino Crime Round Up: Arkansas Gambling Raids Lead to Nine Arrests, $9K Seized

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A recent court-ordered search of an Arkansas grocery store and gas station resulted in nine arrests.

Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office squad car, pictured above. Deputies recently raided two Arkansas businesses in a gambling investigation. (Image: WMC)

Deputies also seized about $9K in cash, two firearms, suspected marijuana, and 14 gaming machines from the two locations in Earle, Ark.

The businesses were identified as Stein’s Grocery and Market on Arkansas Street and Valero Service Station on Highway 64, according to Tennessee TV station WHBQ.

The Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office had been tipped off about suspicious activity at the two locations. Deputies began to investigate possible illegal gambling there.

After gathering evidence over several months, authorities got a warrant from a local judge for the gambling raids. They took place on May 15.

Among those arrested was Mohamed Ali Ismail, 41, of Earle, who was identified by local media as the owner of Stein’s and the manager of the Valero station. He was charged with two counts of keeping a gambling house, according to Tennessee TV station WREG.

Another suspect, Charles Townsend, 44, of Memphis, Tenn., was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana.

Still another suspect, Ricky Howard, a cashier at Stein’s, was charged with possession of a firearm by a certain person with previous conviction for domestic battery.

Also arrested was Saad B. Ghaled, 18, who is believed to reside in Memphis, WREG reported. His charges weren’t immediately known.

Other suspects face a use of gambling device charge. They were identified as Ruthie Oliver, Raiah Ladelle Smith, Lisa Brooks, Daryl Mckenzie, and Annie Henderson.

The cases were turned over to local prosecutors. As of this week, deputies could make more arrests in the case.

Earle is located 28 miles west of Memphis.

Casino Employee Agrees to Plea Deal

A worker at Nevada’s Wendover Nugget Casino recently got a reduced charge under a plea deal.

Maria E. Hernandez Perez, 51, pleaded no contest to petty larceny in Elko Justice Court on May 15, according to the Elko Daily Free Press, a local news outlet.

Initially, she was charged with conspiracy to embezzle and/or theft. Details on the embezzlement weren’t immediately available.

During the court appearance, Judge Randall Soderquist gave her a suspended sentence of five days in jail. She also must pay $132.50 in restitution to the gaming property.

Perez has to avoid getting into legal trouble for six months under the conditions for the sentence.

Two other suspects, Erika Collazo Gonzales and Maria Hernandez Perez, were also arrested on May 1 in connection with the thefts.

Their cases are pending in local court. Each of the trio initially were booked at the Elko County Jail.

The casino is located in West Wendover, some 362 miles north of Las Vegas.

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