BUSINESSES, HOMES RAIDED

Lexington deputies seize 21 sweepstakes machines at 2 stores, 2 homes

rlowe@thestate.comSeptember 6, 2012 

Lexington County authorities have seized 21 sweepstakes machines during a raid of two businesses and two homes after an undercover operation.

A county magistrate later ruled each machine was an illegal video gambling device, Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said in a news release Wednesday.

Undercover officers received cash winnings at the locations where they played sweepstakes card games on the machines, Metts said.

Sixteen of the machines were taken from two private homes: Eight were confiscated from 2155-A South Lake Drive near Lexington, and eight were seized from 1103 Wattling Road near Springdale.

Another three machines were seized at the C-Mart convenience store at 658 Two Notch Road in Lexington. And two machines were seized at the Mk Mini Mart at 668 Main St. in South Congaree.

Springdale Police Chief Kevin Cornett announced late Wednesday that two people connected to the 1103 Wattling Road house, Darryl S. Taylor , 47, and Gregory Guess, 47, were charged with operating a gaming house and narcotic possession. The gaming devices were found, Cornett said, when a search warrant was served Wednesday morning following a drug investigation.

Metts stepped up his pursuit of possibly illegal machines after a State newspaper reporter told him last month that a Swansea magistrate had ruled a machine seized in the county was an illegal gambling device.

Also, when asked by The State newspaper about support from an industry deemed illegal by the S.C. attorney general, Metts returned $5,500 in campaign donations from people known at the time to be affiliated with sweepstakes businesses or machines.

Metts on Wednesday asked anyone with information about illegal video gambling devices to call the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department at (803) 785-8230 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Citizens also can report information anonymously by accessing the Crime Tip link on the sheriff’s department website, lexingtonsheriff.com.

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