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Eight arrested in illegal gambling raid | News

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Eight arrested in illegal gambling raid
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Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese confirmed two more people have been arrested in a recent illegal gambling case that involved seven businesses in Byron and one in Roberta.

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Deese said Pankajkumar Patel and Gloria Holmes were booked after turning themselves in Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, six other business owners and employees were scheduled in court Thursday.

Investigators said they found the businesses running illegal gambling operations.

Around 40 people who were either employees or family members of the defendants filled the courtroom.

Ronald Bartlett, Lee Bartlett, Leonardo Rimando, Michael Durham, Andy Kim, and Kiran Patel all had their bonds set at $50,000.

District Attorney, David Cooke, said all of them were charged with commercial gambling, and all but Rimando were charged with keeping a gambling place.

Cooke said the bond restricts travel for the defendants and bars them from participating in any gambling activity.

He said his team wanted to set Kim's bond at $100,000.

"We had recommended twice the amount because he had two stores," Cooke said, "However because $50,000 was such a significant bond, Judge Self said he would have the same bond as the other people would."

Prosecutors also accused the defendants of being involved in organized crime.

"Basically, the evidence developed here shows that this is a pattern of ongoing conduct," said Cooke.

Ronald and Lee Bartlett owned Captain Jack's Crab Shack, one of the businesses that was raided for illegal gambling.

Bonnie Crotty said she worked for the Bartletts at another business they owned that wasn't raided.

She said because the couple's finances were frozen, employees who worked at any of the businesses they owned are now unemployed.

"I've lost my job, don't know what I'm gonna do, and there's many other people in my same shoes," Crotty said Thursday. "We don't know what to do, we don't want to be on welfare or collect unemployment, we just want to work."

Other employees who worked at Captain Jack's said the allegation that the restaurant was just a front to run illegal gambling operations is false, and that many people relied on the business for income.

Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said the investigation in the case is continuing.


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