Posted by : January 4, 2015| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
SEVEN POINTS–The Seven Points Police are asking the public’s help in identifying a robbery suspect caught on video tape.
He is suspected of threatening the convenience store clerk at the Cap City Station at around 9:30 p.m. Dec. 16, 2014.
After he left in a small black four-door sedan, the clerk called police at 9:37 p.m.
The clerk said the man forced her to empty the cash register at gun point, using a pistol and got away with a little over $800. No injuries were reported.
Police believe he is a local man who lives or works in the Cedar Creek Lake area.
He is described as being somewhere between 5-5 and 5-8 in height of slight build with black hair and thin moustache and a “pointy nose” weighing between 170 and 200 pounds.
Anyone with information about the robbery or thinks they recognize the suspect is asked to contact Sgt. Roger Cullum by calling (903) 432-2111. “The caller may remain anonymous,” Cullum said.
Posted by : December 19, 2014| On :
By David Webb
ATHENS–Raids on game rooms in the Cedar Creek Lake area Tuesday mark the start of a crackdown on illegal gambling in Henderson County, according to local law enforcement officials.
Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee and Sheriff Ray Nutt announced the initiative in a press conference after the execution of five search warrants earlier in the day. Law enforcement officers closed four game rooms in Eustace, Tool, Seven Points and Cap City, and they searched the Gun Barrel City home of the game rooms’ owner, John George Desanto.
Desanto, 53, was arrested on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity and money laundering in the amount of $20,000 to $100,000, which is a second-degree felony, McKee said. At the time of his arrest on the charges related to illegal gambling, Desanto was out of jail on a $15,000 bond for the alleged manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs in October.
Desanto’s criminal record dates back to 2007, and it includes other arrests for organized criminal activity and illegal drug activity, according to Henderson County’s judicial record website.
The raids and Desanto’s arrest follow a yearlong investigation by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers and the Texas State Comptroller. McKee’s office requested the launch of the investigation. Thirty agents using all of their resources, including aircraft and cameras, participated in the investigation.
No one was arrested during the raids Tuesdays for illegal gambling, which is a Class C Misdemeanor, Nutt said. There was one arrest in Eustace related to the illegal possession of controlled substances.
McKee said law enforcement officers spent the day at all of Desanto’s business locations and his home searching safes and other “nooks and crannies.” A safe deposit box at Prosperity Bank also was searched, along with Desanto’s bank account records.
McKee said he expects the prosecution of Desanto to put an end to the small chain of game rooms he operated. He acknowledged game rooms reopened quickly in the past after previous raids.
The four game rooms operated a total of about 200 eight-liners. Law enforcement officers seized two full machines and the motherboards of the other 198 to put them out of commission.
“This investigation has taken almost a year,” McKee said. “We’ve done a lot more research than in the past.”
McKee said Henderson County law enforcement officials are grateful to state law enforcement officers for their help. “We couldn’t have done it locally without their help,” he said.
The investigation included the use of undercover officers going into the game rooms. The case against Desanto will be presented to a grand jury.
McKee said the operation of the game rooms needed to cease because they generated “unregulated money that was not being taxed and going out of the community for other purposes.”
The sheriff agrees that the recent raids will be more effective in shutting down the game rooms than in the past. “They won’t be as likely to open back up,” he said.
Other games rooms believed to be participating in illegal gambling remain open in Henderson County, but they are under scrutiny as well, Nutt said. Illegal gambling taking place on eight-liners in nightclubs and other businesses also risk legal proceedings, he warned.
The unadvertised game rooms are promoted by word of mouth, he noted.
Eight-liners are automated game machines similar to slot machines in casinos. Possession of an eight-liner machine is not illegal, but gambling on them is.
“This is the beginning,” Nutt said. “The game rooms are illegal, and they have a lot of dope going into them. A lot of people are playing in the game rooms who can’t afford to lose their money.”
Nutt said that in addition to illegal gambling and drug activity, the game rooms sometimes are the targets of armed robberies, making them dangerous for patrons. “We’re eventually going to wind up with a homicide,” he said.
McKee said illegal activity in game rooms is a problem in all of the state’s 254 counties, and the Texas Legislature needs to address the problem. “We have this problem everywhere,” McKee said. “The legislators need to take a look at it and do something.”
Posted by : December 11, 2014| On :
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Some quick police work captured two burglars Monday morning. In addition, police believe these young men were also responsible for burglaries committed last month and in July.
Efrain Perez and Anthony Malone, both 17 years old, were taken into custody and charged with burglary.
An alarm went off at the Cut Rate Convenience Center at 2503 W. Main St. in Gun Barrel City between 4:30 and 5 a.m., just prior to opening. Police arrived moments after the alarm went off and observed the front window had been broken.
An immediate investigation was launched with officers Zach Kennedy and Kevin Lewis canvassing the immediate area, where they found two young men, identified as Perez and Malone.
Both were wet and had wads of cash in their pockets, according to a press release. Both were detained for questioning.
A Cut Rate employee arrived and determined that multiple cartons of cigarettes, a case of beer and cash were missing from the store.
During questioning, one of the young men confesssed to the burglary and implicated the other one.
The confession led to the location of the missing items and the majority of the property was returned to the store.
In addition, during the investigation, enough information was gathered to tie both Malone and Perez to prior burglaries at the same location, one in November and another in July. Additional charges for these are being filed as well.