Raid shuts down game room; cash confiscated

SEBASTIAN — It’s the domino effect.

A raid on Silver Outpost game room has led three other game rooms to close nearly three months after a judge allowed them to reopen, Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence said Friday.

Spence said an undocumented employee was turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol after Thursday’s raid of the game room and its so-called Silver Exchange, which exchanges players’ silver tokens for cash.

Authorities seized $10,722 in cash and the game room’s mother board, which helps operate its 86 eight-liner machines, Spence said.

“That’s kind of the brains of it,” Spence said of the mother board. “The machines won’t work without it.”

Spence said he expects more arrests.

“We’ve got an ongoing investigation,” he said. “Probably more arrests will come out of this particular raid.”

On Aug. 13, state District Judge Migdalia Lopez granted the Silver Outpost, the Silver Star Game Room, the Silver Express Game Room and the La Victoria Game Room their requests for temporary restraining orders, allowing them to reopen until their cases go to trial.

Spence said this week’s raid led the three other game rooms to close.

“Everyone else who was open immediately closed,” he said.

Earlier this year, a tough new Willacy County ordinance had led those four game rooms to shut down.

Months later, the game rooms argued the ordinance, which allowed them to re-apply for their permits, denied their due process rights when their re-applications for permits were rejected.

In September, attorney Ricardo Morado, representing the county, requested those four cases be moved to federal court because due process arguments constitute federal claims.

Now, a federal court hearing for those cases has been set for Dec. 27.