Three Kingsville residents were arrested Thursday by officers from the South Texas Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force in a raid on an alleged illegal gambling operation in Kleberg and Nueces counties.
According to the task force, Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office, Nueces County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Comptroller’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Border Patrol assisted STTF agents in executing search and seizure warrants at a Kingsville residence, three storage units in Kingsville and an alleged illegal gambling establishment in Bluntzer.
Gilbert and Nora Cavazos were arrested during a traffic stop on Business Highway 77 after surveillance showed them transporting gambling proceeds from alleged gambling establishments in Nueces County into Kleberg County.
The task force says the Cavazos’ were found with approximately $7,0111 separated into wrapped stacks, as well as numerous ledgers and count sheets showing evidence of illegal payouts from video gambling machines.
STTF agents also arrested Candy Linares, a woman they say managed an illegal gambling establishment in Bluntzer.
A fourth suspect was seen meeting with Linares at the time of her arrest, but was able to get away on foot. Agents say they searched the vehicle the suspect fled from, finding a bag of synthetic marijuana. The vehicle is been impounded and the task force says the suspect’s identity is known and he is currently being sought.
STTF says the raids were the culmination of a nearly three year investigation and resulted in the seizure of illegal gambling machines, ledgers, count sheets and other financial documents as well as more than $43,000 of illicit proceeds.
“These individuals exploit the poor and elderly, and anyone desperate for the chance to win money and help their financial situation,” said Tom A. Roddy, task force commander. “In reality, the game room operators have but one goal; take your money and put it in their pockets. They have no regard for anyone but themselves, and their illegal establishments are unregulated and a haven for other criminal activity.”
Gilbert Cavazos, Nora Cavasos and Candy Linares were booked into the Kleberg County jail and charged with multiple crimes, including Gambling Promotion, Keeping a Gambling Place, Possession of a Gambling Device, Equipment or Paraphernalia, and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.