PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - Several illegal gaming machines were seized Friday morning during police raids in Palestine.
Nate Smith with the City of Palestine said that 125 gaming machines were confiscated, as well as $96,224 in cash, all from three game rooms.
At 7 a.m. police raided three game rooms in Palestine and confiscated several 8-liner gaming machines, according to City of Palestine Information Officer Nate Smith. The Palestine Police Department also confiscated thousands of dollars in cash in the raids, according to a press release.
"Our main concern is the secondary crime that occurs in and around these places," said Palestine Police Chief Andy Harvey. 'Let's just call it what it is; it's gambling. And with that, the opportunity exists for violent crimes such as individuals and business robberies and even murders. It's not good for our city."
Officials say they have been investigating the practices of the game rooms for several months and have evidence that there is ongoing criminal activity in all of the game rooms.
Two of the raids were conducted at game rooms on West Palestine Avenue, Blow Vapor Zone and Dee's Business Center. The other raid was conducted at J & R Lounge in the 500 block of McNeil Street.
Friday afternoon, police discussed Operation Game Over during a press conference.
Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell said charges could be forthcoming, but it's too early to tell.
"Those gaming places have been a blight in our community for a long time. I want the message to be spread that we're taking it seriously," Mitchell said.
Officials haven't yet determined how much money was seized from the machines and Harvey says the investigation will continue.
"It's a good, good day for us. There's still a lot of work to do," Harvey said.
A press release from the Palestine Police Department stated that undercover investigators visited the game rooms over the course of several months and collected evidence that led to Friday's raids. Several agencies assisted in the investigation.