Tifton Gazette

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July 7, 2014

GBI conducts gambling raid in Tift County

TIFTON — Several local convenience stores with  reportedly illegal gambling machines were raided by law enforcement Monday, resulting in five arrests.

According to a press release by the GBI, the GBI’s Commercial Gambling Unit, along with the Mid-South Narcotics Task Force, the Tift County Sheriff’s Office and in cooperation with the Georgia Lottery Corporation on Monday executed 18 search warrants in the Tift County area for violations of Georgia’s commercial gambling laws.

Search warrants were served at 13 businesses, three residences, one storage facility and one office location. While searching the locations, agents collected evidence related to crimes of commercial gambling, seized monetary assets gained from the illegal use of gaming machines and seized more than 100 coin-operated amusement machines.

The businesses are currently licensed to operate  the machines, however, during the course of the investigation, agents discovered customers were receiving cash payouts for winning credits. In Georgia, credits may only be redeemed for lottery tickets and/or store merchandise.

Search warrants were executed at the following business locations:

- Soda Pop Shop, 3131 Highway 41 S., Tifton

- Short Stop, 607 Short St., Tifton

- Earl’s Trap House, 2409 Third Ave., Tifton

- Funny Fruit Thrift Store, 1424 N. Tift Ave., Tifton

- J.L.D. Wings and Pub, 4468 Highway 319 S., Tifton

- EZ Market, 3301 Highway 82 W., Tifton

- GT Point, 1313 S. Ridge Ave., Tifton

- Lil Pantry, 1302 S. Central Ave., Tifton

- A-1 Food Mart, 1005 E. 12th St., Tifton

- SP Convenience Store, 2473 Highway 82 E., Brookfield

- Tift County Ink, 1239 Highway 82 E., Tifton

- Lucky Shamrock, 1281 Highway 82 E., Tifton

- Jay’s Food Mart, 10 Sandra Drive, Tifton

- M&M Amusement, 216 Park Ave., Suite 103, Tifton

GBI agents say thus far, five arrests have been made as a result of a lengthy investigation by the Mid-South Narcotics Task Force. Arrested for felony counts of commercial gambling, as well as other related gambling charges, were Jerry Macri, 45, of Lenox; Rebecca Fletcher Macri, 39, of Lenox; Danny White, 55, of Tifton;  Zachary White, 29, of Tifton; and Alicia Lamb, 28, of Tifton.

In total, more than 100 agents, investigators and deputy sheriffs launched the raids.

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

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