DA: Properties aiding illegal establishments will be seized
Operation Bishop has been in full swing for several months, closing down illegal gambling establishments throughout Cameron County. At the helm of the operation is District Attorney Luis Saenz, who has been warning that anyone found gambling would be arrested.
Authorities did just that, Thursday night, as they raided an illegal game room, located along Frontage Road near Price Road in Brownsville.
Nine women and five men were arrested and charged with gambling. Brownsville Police said even visitors from Mexico were arrested.
"It's not an excuse because you didn't know the law existed; you have to be aware of what the laws that are here, Brownsville Police Spokesman Billy Killebrew said. Anyone that was caught gambling was arrested, regardless if they knew about the law or not."
District Attorney Spokeswoman Melissa Zamora tells Action 4 the game room was receiving electricity and water from the Rose Garden Inn Motel and Toucan Lounge. Since they were allegedly aiding the illegal establishment, Zamora said the DA TMs office will seize these properties.
Police add they will continue working with the DA TMs office to track down these places.
"We're aware now that the gambling has gone, what you would (call) underground, Killebrew said. They TMre in neighborhoods (and) places that you wouldn't think an (illegal) establishment would be open."
Action 4 spoke to the owner of the Rose Garden Inn, who would not go on camera but said he was not providing illegal utilities to the game room. He said he wasn't even aware of what was happening behind closed doors.
He adds he TMs not afraid to lose his property because he claims he was not doing anything illegal.
Police said these type of underground establishments pose many dangers.
"(One danger is they) have too many people in a building, or in a residence but I think the most important, is that a lot of these places tend to get robbed, Killebrew said. People don't report it sometimes because it's illegal, so (the establishments) draw a lot of negative attention."
Property records show that the Rose Garden Inn is owned by SDP Hotel, who also own the La Copa Inn in Brownsville.
State records show that SDP Hotel was founded by a Brownsville man named Pankaj Patel.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission records show that the Toucan Lounge TMs license was issued to Dos Botes Entertainment.
Records show that Dos Botes Enterainment is registered to Southmost resident Andrew Lopez.
Arcade employees Edgar Arellano and Maria Elena Sanchez remain in the Cameron County Jail.
They TMre both facing money laundering, possession of a gambling device, promotion of gambling and gambling charges.
Both Arellano and Sanchez are expected to be arraigned on Monday.