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Additional details from arrest of 5 women at gambling operation on Saratoga Boulevard

Game Tech Entertainment
'Back the Blue Rally' still scheduled despite CCPD post
Posted at 12:28 PM, Nov 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-30 23:32:45-05

UPDATE (8:15 p.m., 11/30/2022)

Nueces County Commissioner commented on the recent game room raid, saying police will stop illegal gambling whether there is an ordinance in place or not.

Commissioner's Court approved an ordinance earlier this year, limiting the number of game rooms, machines and creating a registry. Chesney said with the ordinance it will allow law enforcement to keep track of these businesses easier, enforcement will be smoother and they will know exactly what's inside these establishments.

“It’s going to be a process that will allow the public a lot of security in knowing that there’s just more oversight of these things,” he said.

The ordinance was originally supposed to go into effect in October but was delayed to Jan. 2, 2023.

“It’s a lot of infrastructure that has to be put in place," said Chesney. "The sheriff has created a position within his organization to help to deal with it. “

Chesney said the county is still looking to fill the position that will oversee game room enforcement.

He said the game room ordinance will be discussed at the upcoming commissioners court meeting.

UPDATE (4 p.m., 11/30/2022):

KRIS 6 News obtained the police report which detailed what led to the arrest of five women for illegal gambling operations on the city's South Side.

According to the police report, on Tuesday at about 2:10 p.m., two undercover Corpus Christi police officers entered Game Tech Entertainment located at 5017 Saratoga Blvd. Suite 123.

Both of the officers placed $20 into electronic slot machine style games. After they both earned winnings above their initial $20, the detectives began the cash out process.

According to the report, following their game, the detectives called over the attendant, Vanessa Olague. She wrote the amount won on a slip of paper and instructed the detectives to walk over to a counter, where they handed the slip to Robbie Austin.

Austin then pulled out multiple "zip loc style baggies with a silver metal" into a basket and handed it back to the detectives.

The report states they were then told to speak to the security guard, Claudia Resendez, who walked detectives to CC Silver, a business at suite 121.

Detectives then handed the basket to Laura Colunga, who was behind a counter at the business, who then handed the detectives their winnings before they left the location.

The report states although the machines the detectives played on did not pay out the prize automatically, the employees looked at the result of the game played to determine the payout.

Because the electronic machine the detectives played afforded them a chance of winning something of value based solely or partially on chance, the machine meets definition of a gambling device, according to the report.

The search warrants were then executed five minutes after the undercover officers left the location.

A fifth woman, Jessica Guerra was also arrested. She told a detective she was a floor attendant at the game room.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Corpus Christi Police Department arrested multiple people on the city's South Side Tuesday after they received a tip of an illegal gambling operation on the 5000 block of Saratoga Boulevard.

According to a release from the CCPD, officials arrested five women on Tuesday after initiating dual search warrants at two adjacent businesses, following a "weeks-long" investigation.

The release states that 60-year-old Robbie Austin, 26-year-old Vanessa Olague, 21-year-old Claudia Resendez, 31-year-old Jessica Guerra, and 22-year-old Laura Colunga, were all arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.

During the search, officials said they seized gambling equipment, over $36,000 cash, and other evidence of illegal gambling.

Austin, Olague, Resendez, and Guerra were also charged with gambling promotion, keeping a gambling place, and possession of a gambling device.

Colunga had only one additional charge of keeping a gambling place.

The women face a potential of up to two years in jail and a maximum $10,000 fine, the release states.

The release states 14 patrons of the game room were issued warning citations for gambling and were released from the scene.

Officials said the investigation is ongoing, and additional arrests are still possible.

Narcotics and Vice Investigations Division detectives were assisted in the operation by officers with the CCPD Operations Division and investigators with the State of Texas Comptroller’s Office, which regulates coin-operated machines.

This is a developing story. Check back with KRIS 6 News for updates.

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