Macon gambling racketeering hearing underway
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A Bibb County Superior Court judge says eight of the ten service stations allegedly involved in a massive gambling raid will open their doors again — with restrictions.
A choice Raxit Patel and his legal counsel advised as he took the stand in court on Monday.
He and his wife, Pannaban, argue they and their alleged store, this Shell service station on Forest Hill Road, aren’t part of a large gambling raid that shut down the Shell station along with nine others.
“It’s our position that the state has improperly included my client and the property at Forest Hill Road in this RICO complaint,” Brian Jarrard, the defense attorney, said.
State attorneys say the Shell, along with the other stations, violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Prosecutors are looking for all property and money earned from gambling to be turned over to authorities.
Eight of the ten store owners entered into a consent agreement to open their doors as soon as possible with special conditions — including removing any gambling machines inside the store and reporting all monthly financial activities to a court appointed attorney.
“All we’re doing is maintaining the property to make sure it’s in good order in case it’s ultimately forfeited to the state,” Macon Judicial Circuit district attorney David Cooke said.
WITNESSES INCLUDING UNDERCOVER G-B-I AGENTS TESTIFIED ON THE SHELL STORE ILLEGALLY PAYING CUSTOMERS IN CASH FOR THEIR WINNINGS FROM SLOT MACHINES.
“They were here to establish to the court our basis for seizing the property,” Cooke said.
Brian Jarrard, the attorney for Pannaban Patel wanted to see the Shell station open without an attorney’s supervision.
For right now…that won’t happen, and state recommends keeping a close eye on all of the stores.
“A store is not going to remain in good order if it’s padlocked. So the idea is that you continue to allow a store to operate legally, legally, and under strict supervision until the case is finished,” Cooke said.
The Shell as well as the Bateman and Wade Store on Clayton Street are the only stores that won’t be open.
District Attorney David Cooke says there is a need for further investigation on that store.
No word yet on when the next court date will be in the gambling raid case.