POSTED: Monday, April 15, 2013 - 4:31pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 7:58am
CAMERON COUNTY, TX (KVEO NEWS CENTER 23) — 8-liner establishments are a big business in Cameron county. It's estimated around there are 200 of them and they bring in around $300 million annually.
"They are all run by criminal organizations, we believe they are owned by an enterprise and the enterprise responds to people in Little Rock, Arkansas, Houston, and Nevada." said District Attorney Luis Saenz.
The district attorney's office and 11 other organizations were involved in the raid of five eight-liner establishments. They went after the owners and mid-management.
One of those arrested included the son in law of the Cameron County Tax Assessor.
A total of 465 seized were seized. District Attorney Luis Saenz says these 8-liners are nothing by trouble.
"Criminal elements of the bribing of public officials, the cartels are moving in, anytime you have $300 million they want a part of it and we have seen that already, it leads to shootings, it leads to robberies, home invasions and leads to the customers themselves held up."said Saenz.
"Close them all down we don't need that kind of them."said Maria Chavez.
Maria Chavez lives by one the 8-liner establishments raided. She said customers would park in front of her house all the time.
"It’s gambling and it’s not legal these people were getting closer to my house one right here and have another one on the corner." Said Chavez
Saenz says previous administrations went after these 8-liners but took the wrong approach when going after them.
"The mistake was they were reselling these machines back, and we found out they would seize the machines today, and resell them tomorrow, and they would be back in practice two days later." Said Saenz.
Saenz says that's not the case in this raid. He says he will go to court and prove the machines which are currently at an undisclosed location are illegal the way they were being used. He will then ask the judge to award the machines to state and from there will they will be destroyed.
Saenz says his goal is to eliminate all the 8-liners in the county. He also sends a strong warning to the people playing these 8-liners.
"This time the public was not arrested in the future the public participating in illegal gambling will be arrested I want to put them on notice about that." Said Saenz.
Saenz says the investigation continues and he says there may be some public officials arrested in the future.