Peņitas gambling parlor raided; employee arrested

Posted: Friday, May 15, 2015 8:17 pm
PEŅITAS — Police raided an underground casino this month operating out of an abandoned hair salon managed by a 26-year-old woman, who was arrested.

Police knocked on the front door of the abandoned building in the 2000 block of 3 Mile Line Road about 2:29 p.m. May 8, after noticing several vehicles parked behind, according to a criminal complaint. Officers also noticed banners leading to the entrance, where they knocked without any answer.

Officers proceeded to the back door, where Mabely Perez answered, according to the complaint. Police said they saw people sitting and playing eight-liner machines — a video gambling device commonly known locally as amaquinita.

Perez told police the place had been open for three weeks and she had no business permit, the complaint states. Unlike neighboring La Joya and Sullivan City, the city does not issue permits for gambling parlors.

Perez confessed to managing the illegal gambling parlor. Police are still looking for the owner of the property, who lives in Reynosa, investigator Alejandro Perez said.

Police confiscated 33 eight-liners and the people playing on the machines received a citation, Perez said.

Privately-owned gambling parlors remain illegal in Texas if winnings exceed $5, but some local cities have used local licenses in defiance of state law to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.

“Mrs. Perez advised that she started paying out about $400 in cash to people who had won on the machines,” the complaint states.

Perez, a Mexican national, was given a $10,000 bond and was charged with gambling promotion, a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, Perez could face up to one year in jail a $4,000 fine.