Three game rooms in the Cleveland area were raided simultaneously around 8:30 p.m. Friday night in a concerted effort by the Liberty County Attorney’s Office, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and the Pct. 5 Constable’s Office.
“This has been a long-term, three-month investigation,” said Pct. 5 Constable David Hunter. “We received a lot of intel from citizens about illegal gambling proceeds being paid out at these game rooms.”
Patrons who were inside the establishments when they were raided were issued citations for illegal gambling and will have to appear in a justice of the peace courtroom in the coming days. Employees were arrested and taken to the Liberty County Jail.
“The owners will probably face multiple charges later,” Hunter said.
Two of the three illegal game rooms were in Tarkington — one in an old restaurant space behind the Chevron gas station at the intersection of SH 321 and SH 105 and one in a brick building just south of that location in a building once used as a body shop. The third game room is located south of the AM & PM Shell station on US 59 at Morgan Cemetery Road in Cleveland.
“What I would like everyone to understand is we are not just picking on patrons in these game rooms. This is a criminal activity. The problem with illegal gambling is that it brings a lot of other criminal activity, such as robberies, stabbings, drugs and other violent crimes,” Hunter said. “This is why we can’t have these establishments. They are not being operated legally and properly, and we don’t want illegal criminal activity in our community.”
An updated story will be posted on Saturday after Bluebonnet News interviews Liberty County Attorney Matthew Poston.