Gambling Raid Nets Two Arrests In Port Charlotte

July 14th, 2010 – by Glen Farmer

In Charlotte County, a business has been raided on Monday under suspicion operating an unlicensed gambling operation.

Sheriff’s detectives conducted the raid and made their arrests, apprehending two residents of Cape Coral over their involvement in the operation of this illegal gambling den. Gustavo Ernesto Ortiz-Moran, 23, and Josue Joel Molina, 33, have been taken into custody by authorities.

A two month investigation had entailed detectives entering the MAX Video Arcade in Port Charlotte and attempting to play what were essentially slot games. The detectives would purchase plastic playing cards in order to use the slots.

The initial investigation culminated when, a week after the detective had played the game, Molina was given a written warning informing him that he was in violation of the law. Molina denied the allegations. The Florida Division of Para-Mutuel Wagering, part of the Department of Business and Professional Regulations showed that the MAX Video Arcade is not a licensed gambling business.

The investigation continued on July 9th, when detectives returned with the playing card from the portion of the investigation that took place in May. The remaining $5 credit on the card had been turned into $43.60 through the use of the slot machines, and had subsequently been cashed out. The detectives reportedly received hard currency for the winnings. An attendant claimed that cash payouts were a regular part of business.

Ortiz-Moran and Molina were both arrested. Molina was charged with keeping a gambling house, while Ortiz-Moran had been charged with a felony, an Agent of a Keeper of a Gambling House. Both had been bonded out.

Florida had been experiencing unprecedented gambling expansion, as table games have recently arrived at some of the casinos in the southern part of the state, while the poker rooms have received uncapped limits. The Florida Online Gambling sites have not yet been regulated, there has been some talk of expanding online gambling laws.

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