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4 accused of running illegal poker room in Smith County

Clockwise from top left: Graciela Perez, Martin Guzman, Stuart Hendricks, Blanca Guzman.
Clockwise from top left: Graciela Perez, Martin Guzman, Stuart Hendricks, Blanca Guzman.(Smith County Jail)
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 5:24 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - DPS is charging two Tyler residents and two Jacksonville residents for their alleged individual roles with an illegal gambling operation in Smith County.

Stuart Mathew Hendricks, 42, of Jacksonville, Martin Egoberto Guzman, 47, of Tyler, Blanca Vanessa Guzman, 26, of Tyler, and Graciela Mendiola Perez, 23, of Jacksonville, are each charged with money laundering. Hendricks and Perez have bonds set at $1 million while Martin Guzman and Blanca Guzman have $100,000 bonds.

An arrest affidavit obtained by KLTV on Friday also mentions Luis Alberto Sandoval, a former Smith County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was arrested in August for assisting in drug trafficking. According to the affidavit, Sandoval was in debt to the poker business.

According to the affidavit, Hendricks, the alleged organizer of the business, was stopped by a deputy on Oct. 9 for a traffic violation. A search of Hendricks’ vehicle revealed $23,000 in cash. Investigators also seized Hendricks cellphone. A search of the phone yielded ledgers, poker table rosters, text messages, videos and photographs of an illegal poker game operated in the county by Hendricks and co-conspirators, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states multiple references to a “rake” or house take from a poker game, which makes the operation illegal.

The affidavit states Hendricks, Martin Guzman and a third man, who is not listed in the Smith County Jail, as operators and benefactors of the business. The affidavit states Guzman Blanca Guzman would receive large sums of money from those owing money to the operation and she would transfer the money out. The affidavit alleges Perez is Hendricks’ girlfriend and assists with recruiting players to the game and she also recruits women to entertain players at the operation.

The affidavit alleges Sandoval admitted in July to gambling at the operation and owing money to Hendricks.

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