BROWNSVILLE–The Brownsville Police raided five arcades on Thursday and Friday, shutting them down and sending a message those types of businesses won’t be allowed to operate in the city, if they are breaking the law.
The Special Investigation Unit raided three places Thursday night after conducting undercover investigations at the locations. They determined they were paying out cash to their patrons and the 8-liner machines were illegal, which is against the law in Texas.
At the arcade on 3254 Boca Chica Blvd., officers seized 54 8-liners, nearly $7,000 in cash and arrested Carlos Santana, 19, and Cristian Aguilar, 18.
They also shut down an arcade at 3025 Boca Chica Blvd. Officers confiscated 63 8-liners, nearly $5,000 in cash, 500 pesos and arrested Martin Villanueva, 46 and Jorge Lopez, 25.
The third stop of the night was at 1050 Mackintosh where officers seized 37 8-liners, about $900 in cash and arrested Samuel Maldonado, 25, and Edgar Vega, 24. Vega was also a deported felon found with a handgun so ICE Special Agents put a hold on him at the Brownsville City Jail.
All of these men were charged with Gambling Promotion, Possession of a Gambling Device and Keeping a Gambling Place. Also, the patrons inside of these businesses were given a citation for gambling.
Officers also executed warrants on Friday at two locations. They arrested one manager, while the second place was unoccupied and there were no arrests.
At the arcade on 1393 E. Alton Gloor Blvd, officers seized 32 8-liners, nearly $900 in cash and arrested Leticia Lozano De La Garza. She was charged with Gambling Promotion, Possession of a Gambling Device and Keeping a Gambling Place.
Officers believe the second location at 4854 Boca Chica Blvd. knew a raid was going to happen so they shut down. When police arrived, there was nobody at the business. Officers report this is a common practice when arcades are raided.
Commanders report some of the gambling charges might be upgraded to engaging in criminal activity, which is a state jail felony.
Investigations have revealed some of the business owners are hiring undocumented workers to run the illegal gambling establishments. Those particular cases will be turned over to federal law enforcement agencies for possible prosecution.