MEXIA, TX — The Joint Criminal Apprehension Team of Grosebeck and Mexia police officers prepared themselves late Friday for an illegal gambling raid, where they found more than 50 illegal video gambling machines inside two Mexia locations.
The elite group of officers scoped out Limestone County gambling operations for months.
Friday night they said, the time came for action.
"When did these things first come on our radar screen? Actually they come on our radar screen right before the first of the year. We started putting eyes on 'em, watching traffic in and out ," said Lieutenant Tracy Edwards of the Mexia Police Department.
The raid targeted illegal gambling operations, which investigators say, take money from people eager for a win... but more often, lose.
After going over the plan, the officers broke up... suited up... saddled up.... and hit the road.
The raid happened quickly, as officers surrounded the building and poured into the front door, securing the operators... and the players.
"Tonight we executed two simultaneous search warrants on two illegal gaming operations here in Mexia. Was I surprised at the number of people inside some of these places? I wasn't," said Mexia Police Chief Brian Bell.
Officers interviewed each player to see if they had any outstanding warrants. If not, they were free to go.
Meantime, police arrested two operators of illegal gambling parlors, and booked them into the Limestone County Jail.
Since the beginning of this year, the J-CAT task force has served search warrants on three different illegal gambling operations.
Once officers have the places secured they take careful inventory of the building's contents... every machine, every dollar gets a thorough accounting.
Money goes into specially-marked evidence envelopes, and the machines get labeled as evidence.
J-CAT has once again proven its worth as a task force that gets results.
"We have a limited number of officers in Groesbeck, Mexia has a limited number so we're looking at how to better serve our communities and increase our resources. How's it worked out so far? Fantastic," said Groesbeck Police Chief Chris Henson
And as officers loaded up the video gaming machines into a huge truck, they say they've kept their neighbors from "throwing" their money away... on unregulated and illegal games.
Mexia police said that officers, along with officers with the Groesbeck Police Department, executed search warrants at two locations that were believed to be engaging in illegal gambling.
Police executed their warrant Friday at 9 p.m. The first location, located on East Milam Street, was found to have 37 gambling machines.
The second location, on State Highway 14 South, had 17 gambling machines.
Arrests were made at both locations and charges are pending.
On Central Texas News Now at 10 p.m., we'll take you along on the raid in an exclusive inside report. A second report on the J-CAT task force will air Monday on Good Morning Texas.