US Gambling Crime Roundup: Man Shot in Florida Casino, Cockfighting Bust in Nevada

Suspect fired gun in Florida casino

January ended with a spate of cross-country gambling-related crimes, from a fatal gunshot in the Sunshine State and illegal bodega crackdowns in the Northeast, to a cockfighting bust in the West.

security guard shot and killed an unidentified man

In the early hours of Saturday morning, a security guard shot and killed an unidentified man inside a Florida gambling venue. According to the Lake City Reporter, police said the security guard told the suspect to leave the Q-Time 777 casino premises after a dispute with another individual.

However, the man returned to the small gaming venue in Lake City, Florida, armed with a handgun. He reportedly fired multiple shots inside the premises, endangering the lives of other patrons.

“At that point, a security guard […] engaged the suspect in gunfire”, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said. The dead man was the only casualty in an incident police have said is under ongoing investigation.

Vegas raid rescues 300+ roosters

In North Las Vegas on the night of January 28, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and Animal Control rescued over 300 roosters following a cockfighting bust.

Officials discovered the roosters, intended for bloodsport, during an unrelated investigation in the northeast valley. The LVMPD tweeted photos of the bust on Friday evening:

Police arrested the homeowner for narcotics-related charges. According to Robert Sigal, a detective with the LVMPD’s animal cruelty unit, the unnamed suspect will also face “charges related to the malicious torture” of the roosters.

Officials discovered the roosters north of the Strip in the 4000 block of East Judson near Lake Mead and Lamb boulevards in the Sunrise Manor area of Sin City. Sunrise Manor featured on a 2019 list by career site Zippia as the most “stressed” area in Nevada. It is also home to LVMPD’s Northeast Command, who earlier in January asked the public for help in apprehending slot machine cash box criminals.

“Trainers will cut off the roosters’ spurs and comb, before forcing them to fight each other with sharp blades attached to their legs until one of the animals dies”, police said in a release.

Lawbreaking CT bodega trio

Up north in Connecticut, three Waterbury men face illegal professional gambling charges in the wake of a state police clampdown on illicit bodega-based gambling setups.

Guillermo Betances, 59, Segundo Fabian, 62, and Sterling David Peralta Taveras, 33, are also charged late with illegal possession of gambling devices and illegally maintaining gambling premises.

The trio turned themselves in on January 13 on warrants resulting from police raids on their Waterbury storefronts in 2020. According to police, the operation has run under the “organized direction of several individuals in Connecticut whose primary goal was to make illegal profits from wagers/bets.”

Fabian and Taveras go before the Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury on February 17, with Betances following suit on February 25.

Sticky-fingered controller

Across the country in Nevada, District Judge Tom Gregory ordered Robert Merrald Schrader, 55, an ex-controller for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe, to spend 30 weekends in prison. The order comes “as a condition of his probation on a felony embezzlement charge”, the Tahoe Daily Journal reports.

charged almost $47,000 on another person’s corporate credit card

Prosecutor Patrick Ferguson said the thefts took place over a year, and that Schrader charged almost $47,000 on another person’s corporate credit card. Attorney Kris Brown, meanwhile, said Schrader was addicted to gambling.

Judge Gregory highlighted Schrader’s position of trust within the company and concluded that he deserved punishment for his actions. The Reno resident will serve “90 days in jail, three days at a time, while continuing to work,” the judge decided last week.

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