BPD’s special operations task force and SWAT team executed a search and arrest warrant into the illegal gambling operation at 805 W. Corpus Christi St., known as The Atlantis game room, for charges revolving around cash payouts for customers who were playing the 8-liner machines.
According to Police Chief Joe Treviño, approximately 17 arrest warrants were served, and four suspects were taken into custody.
Ramiro Ybarra, 33, was running the illegal business and was arrested on several warrants Friday night. Three additional arrests were made, including 56-year-old Sylvia Esparza, 33-year-old Alejandro Rafael Sandoval and 32-year-old Maria Ema Esparza.
The arrest warrants were for being engaged in organized criminal activity, possession of a gambling device, equipment or paraphernalia, keeping a gambling place and gambling promotion.
Treviño said that the raid was the result of many complaints of illegal gambling and cash payouts occurring at that specific game room in Beeville.
“We receive phone calls every now and then about illegal activity which we then use to begin conducting an investigation,” he said.
The game room was closed down after the police raid, but the machines stayed put. “We normally take the machines, but in this case we secured them, closed down the operation and locked everything up,” Treviño said.
After the criminal cases are dealt with, Treviño said that BPD will submit forfeiture to the district attorney’s office regarding the machines.
Treviño said there are still several open investigations of game rooms in the area.
Lindsey Shaffer is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 119, or at regional@mySouTex.com.