Multiple arrests are pending after simultaneous, coordinated raids at four businesses in Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe counties Tuesday morning, according to the GBI.
The search warrants were executed by both state and local authorities, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Commercial Gambling Unit, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Athens-Clarke County Drug Task Force, and the Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, in cooperation with the Georgia Lottery Corp., and the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Six search warrants were executed for violations of Georgia’s commercial gambling laws, according to information released by GBI Special Agent in Charge Cindy Ledford.
Search warrants were served at four businesses in Athens, Carlton, Comer and Hull. Those businesses include:
- Kwik Chek, 9020 Hwy. 29 S., Hull;
- Kwik Pick Gulf, 1880 Hwy. 29 N., Athens;
- Sandy Cross Hardware and Cafe, 815 Lexington-Carlton Road, Carlton; and
- Valero, 25 Hwy. 72 E., Comer.
All those businesses currently are licensed to operate coin-operated amusement machines, according to the GBI.
Despite that licensure, agents discovered during their investigation that customers were receiving cash payouts for winning credits, which violates state law, according to GBI. Credits may only be redeemed for lottery tickets and/or store merchandise in Georgia.
While searching the locations, agents collected evidence related to crimes of commercial gambling and seized monetary assets gained from the illegal use of gaming machines, according to a statement from Ledford.
Search warrants also were served at homes in Hull and Watkinsville.
More than 50 officers participated in the raids, which also included Comer Police Department, Georgia Department of Community Services, Georgia Department of Corrections K-9 Unit, and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.