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Mexia, Groesbeck police say to expect more gambling raids

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Posted at 9:10 PM, Feb 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 22:10:46-05

Owners of a Mexia vape shop could soon face criminal charges for running an illegal gambling operation.

It comes after a police raid last week that netted more than a dozen machines.

Police in both Mexia and Groesbeck say they've targeted illegal gambling and aim to run it out of both towns.

Melinda Keys Archibald says after police raided a vape shop on Mexia's Main Street, people quickly learned it had to do with illegal gambling.

"This establishment said they were robbed. Police came in and investigated that attempted robbery and found out they had illegal gambling machines in the back of the store. Did I know gambling was going on in Mexia? I did not," Archibald said.

The evening of Feb. 6, officers from Mexia and Groesbeck, part of a Joint Criminal Apprehension Team, raided the business and seized dozens of gambling machines.

"Whether you agree with it or not, it's illegal to run such an operation in the state of Texas and it also facilitates other crimes,” said Mexia Police Chief Brian Bell.

He says illegal gambling creates a target for robbery, narcotics sales and the fact that no one makes sure the machines actually pay out as they should.

A note on the door of the vape shop says it will re-open soon... presumably without the gambling machines.

Bell and his counterpart in Groesbeck say they've identified at least a half-dozen more illegal gambling businesses the J-CAT task force plans to raid in the weeks ahead.

Bell has a message for people in both Mexia and Groesbeck.

"That we're aware of it, and that we're doing something about it and it's not gonna be tolerated in either one of these cities,” Bell said. 

That's good news to Melinda Keys Archibald.

"I'm pretty shocked about this, Oh yes. I'm glad the police cleaned it up. Am I surprised to learn there's more out there? Not really,” Archibald said.

She says where there's one criminal enterprise, unfortunately, you usually find more.

Police didn't make any arrests at the time of the raid, but they sent the case to the Limestone County District Attorney for review and possible prosecution.

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