COLUMBIA, SC — An officer responding to neighbors’ complaints of drug activity at a north Columbia-area home found more than just marijuana on the premises.
The complaint led to the seizure of nine gambling machines at a residence on Mt. Vernon Street in what was an apparent home-gambling operation.
The incident occurred Thursday after a Columbia Police Department officer went to the home near Hyatt Park Elementary School to check out complaints of drug activity, a department incident report states.
After arriving at the residence, the officer smelled marijuana coming from inside the home. The officer asked if he could search the residence and was given permission by the home’s occupant, Lillian Johnson, the report states.
The officer found marijuana in a closet, but also spotted six gambling machines in a bedroom and three more in a dining room – all in plain view, the report states.
Johnson told investigators she did not own the machines though she was operating them in her home for cash proceeds. Johnson told police another person came by the residence regularly to check on the machines. Johnson had a key to all of the machines’ locks in her possession.
In addition, Johnson had a small amount of cash in her purse at the home, which she told officers was used to pay individuals who played and won on the machines.
Johnson, 51, was arrested on gambling charges and simple possession of marijuana. She was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said officers with the department are continuing to investigate.