By Brian Livingston / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Officers of the Meridian Police Department conducted a series of raids Thursday morning that resulted in the confiscation of gambling machines and the arrests of several people.
MPD Capt. Dean Harper, commander of the department's Criminal Investigation Division, said three businesses in Meridian were targeted for harboring suspected gambling machines. Harper said the businesses involved were Eddies Grocery, located at 4503 Fifth Street; Suds Laundromat, located at 4421 Fifth Street; and Nick's Bar, located at 804 23rd Avenue.
"The operation took about an hour and a half and we were able to confiscate about 19 machines," Harper said.
Harper said employees, managers or owners who were present at the time of the operations were arrested. Those arrested during the operations were, Debbie Reid, 58, of Elton Joyner Road; Amy Pace, 35, of Manning Street; Nathaniel Wood, of Country Club Drive; and Chad Nicholson, 30, of Officer's Lake Road. Each of those arrested was charged with possession of a gambling machine. Harper said a first offense is considered a misdemeanor but a second arrest will result in a felony charge.
"It doesn't matter if the machine is unplugged and sitting in a closet with dust and cobwebs all over it," Harper explained. "If you have one on your property then you are in possession. It doesn't have to be working."
Harper said more warrants have been issued for some of the owners of the businesses and that more arrests are pending.
"This is not the first operation of its kind and it won't be the last," Harper said. "The only places these machines are allowed are in legally licensed casinos."