Athens Georgia criminal gambling and fencing cases may go federal
On Tuesday, police raided 14 stores and homes in Clarke, Oconee, and Gwinnett counties which capped a three-month investigation into fencing and gambling operations.
The Athens Banner-Herald has the story.
Police say that convenience store owners and employees placed orders with criminals to steal certain items from homes, businesses, and vehicles. Authorities grew suspicious when they began finding lists of items on burglars such as specific flat screen televisions and laptops. This fact combined with the high rates of thefts for those goods led to the conclusion that there must be some sort of outlet. After further investigation, police armed themselves with arrest warrants for nine individuals they believed were connected with the fencing rings.
Police also believe some of the businesses ran illegal gambling operations. These businesses allegedly gave cash to customers who played poker machines.
The raids began around 9:30 a.m. at five businesses and two homes in Clarke County, one store and four homes in Oconee County, and two homes in Gwinnett County. The nine suspects were arrested and face 40 criminal charges including theft by receiving and illegal gambling.
Reports state that the suspects may also face state and federal racketeering charges. Federal charges can be brought in theft and fencing cases that involve Interstate commerce, and there are federal laws that regulate certain gambling activities.
If the case goes federal, charges could be brought in either the Northern or Middle Districts of Georgia.
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