Early in September, the Palo Pinto Sherriff's Office raided several businesses including Longhorn Smokes n' More at Possum Kingdon Lake. With the help of the DPS criminal investigation division, officers seized several thousand dollars worth of equipment in the raids of businesses alleged to be operating as illegal lotteries.
After the Palo Pinto raids, two of the five gambling operations in Graham have since closed down. County Attorney Dayne Miller said that one of the gambling operations in Graham that shuttered its doors recently is connected to the raided establishments in Palo Pinto.
“The internet cafe on HWY 16 South, Triple Fun, I believe it was called, is closed down, cleared up and gone,” Miller said. “Evidently the lady running it also ran the one's in Palo Pinto County, and she may be looking at an organized crime charge. So some progress has been made.”
Miller added that prosecution of the case may take some time, as it would need to go before a grand jury. The city of Graham has been pursuing its own case against various underground gambling operations since 2003, and initial investigations were temporarily effective. That year, after a ruling made by the Texas Supreme Court regarding the illegality of machines called “8-liners,” digital machines that simulate games of chance, Young County Attorney Boyd Ritchie sent out a blanket letter.
The letter was sent to businesses operating these machines, and it ordered them to cease their operations within seven days of receipt of the letter. Initially, this tactic seemed effective, and the businesses ceased any perceived illegal operations. But three years later, around 2006, more gambling operations emerged in Graham, and city and county officials have so far not been able to shut them down.
Read the entire story in Wednesday's edition of the Graham Leader.