Despite warnings and previous notices to shut down, Cameron County officials said about a dozen 8-liners refused to abide by the law and welcomed customers into their game rooms.
Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, officials made a surprise visit at the 8-liner businesses checking for the necessary permits to keep their doors open for business.
It took just minutes for people to scatter from ten 8-liner along Business 83 in La Feria, when they saw authorities arrive.
Inspectors were able to track down the alleged business owner on the phone. He admitted that he did not have the required permits on site.
Make sure you have those permits and have them where people can see them," Cameron County Fire Marshal TMs Service Director Humberto Barrera said.
"Tomorrow I TMm going to bring them, I promise you tomorrow (I TMll) bring them, the alleged business owner said. Just let them open.
No, Barrera responded. You need to shut down until you have those permits available."
One woman first fled the scene without hesitation leaving behind a trail of money on the ground. She later came back to the 8-liner claiming to be the manager.
She told inspectors she left because she got scared, and also admitted she wasn TMt aware of which permits are required at the business.
Barrera said these types of reactions are proof of possible wrongdoing.
At a regular place of business when you go ask for a manger or the owner, it only takes minutes to get a manager or owner, Barrera said. So it makes me wonder, it makes us all wonder, why is it that when law enforcement shows-up to an establishment like this, we can TMt find a manager or owner?"
The story repeated itself throughout the night. A man at an Olmito 8-liner claimed he was the manager of the place during the business inspection, but said he did not know the owner.You've never met the owner? Barrera asked.
No sir, the man said.
He also admitted to what authorities would deem criminal behavior " he said the business was paying out cash prizes of $5 to $10.
Barrera said it TMs not the fire marshal TMs, health department TMs or building inspector TMs offices to determine if there TMs illegal gambling at the establishments. However, he said all county businesses have to play by the rules.
"Sometimes people think they are above the law but no one is, Barrera said.