By Juan Montoya
With the Thursday Operation Bishop raid of an alleged eight-liner gaming room between the Toucan Lounge and Rose Garden Inn and the arrest of 14 people were booked on gambling charges, Cameron County District Attorney is making good on his warning that such operations will be targets for prosecution.
Saenz had said before in an interview that he knew of several hotels and private homes that were being used for the illegal eight-liner operations in an attempt to conceal gambling places where cash prizes of more than $5 were being paid.
The latest raid has sent suppliers of the machines scurrying to the few places left that have them to retrieve their machines.
"They came in after the raid at the Toucan Lounge and took the two maquinitas we had," said a bar owner. "After that they didn't want to take a chance that they would take them."
So far we have not heard of Operation Bishop raids on private homes, but if the DA is correct in that there are several such places doing business, it will just be a matter of time before the vans and police officers arrive to shut them down.
Saenz has said that initial research into the eight-liner operation in the building between the Toucan Lounge and Rose Garden Inn indicates that they constitute one facility because the utilities were being provided by the bar. He said his office might move to seize the bar and hotel if that proves to be the case.
The 14 persons charged with gambling were held for less than two hours in jail before they were released on $500 personal recognizance bonds.