Saturday March 30, 2013 : 12 arrested in two raids in Modesto
Police in Modesto, California raided two internet businesses Thursday, arresting 12 people and confiscating computer and documentary evidence of illegal ‘sweepstakes' style online gambling.
The two premises visited by police were Andthen.com and LinkNet, businesses which had previously advertised their services as an Internet cafe and a computer services company.
Sgt. Ivan Valencia told local reporters that neither business was offering the services they advertised, and were instead allowing people to gamble at all hours. Neighbours had complained to the police regarding noise and disturbances associated with the businesses, he revealed.
Detectives seized 63 computers and $8,000 in cash, along with documentary evidence.
In related news, enforcement officials in Spartanburg, South Carolina, have arrested a former 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office investigator and onetime Kershaw County sheriff candidate who has since turned his hand to building and providing allegedly ‘sweepstakes' style internet gambling machines.
37-year-old L.W. Flynn was detained but later released on bail after being found in possession of ‘Magic Minutes' machines, an offence under new and more stringent state laws.
Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Ivey said Flynn has publicly – and often – asserted the machines’ legality, saying state law allows what are called sweepstakes games.
Magic Minutes offers long-distance calling cards and gives buyers the chance to win cash prizes after playing casino-style games over the internet. The machines have been ruled illegal gambling devices in several counties across the state, but have also won approval in other court hearings, creating a confusing legal situation.
Under state law, each machine seized must be judged individually by a magistrate to be legal or illegal.
Flynn has testified in previous cases that he creates and owns the machines, and based on that testimony Spartanburg County deputies obtained an arrest warrant for him, leading to his detention.
Under state law a person convicted of possession of an illegal gambling machine, a misdemeanour, could be sentenced to up to a year in prison and $500 in fines for each machine seized.