Police flush full house in gambling raidBy BY RECARDO THOMAS STAFF REPORTER,
One Indianola resident took a gamble and lost after a Friday night police raid resulted in criminal charges being brought against him and citations issued for 16 of his associates.
According to Indianola Police Chief Edrick Hall, his officers seized cash, drugs and weapons at the home of Sheldon Lee at 1114 Bates St., where Lee was arrested and subsequently charged with illegal gambling and hosting/allowing illegal games. "They (police officers) made contact with 17 people inside the residence involved in a gambling game--shooting dice. Also, out of that, we recovered $3,790, three handguns, ecstacy pills and marijuana," Hall said.
In addition to Lee's arrest, the other 16 were issued citations for illegal gambling and the controlled substance violation and will have to appear in Municipal Court to answer to the misdemeanor charges. "We want to try to use judgment before we take 17 people to the county jail not knowing their health conditions. We would hate to send somebody out to the county jail that may have been in contact with somebody with the coronavirus," Hall said.
He said all of the weapons were confiscated and would be checked to make sure they are not stolen or been used in conjunction with any other crimes and if they check out, the weapons could possibly be returned to the owners after they have made their appointed court date.
Hall said, "We have received numerous complaints about the traffic at that location for some time now."
He said being short-staffed and having to deal with situations concerning the pandemic is what caused a delay in them taking action. "We just knew it was time to go ahead and act because it didn't seem to be slacking up, instead it seemed to be worse," said Hall.
The chief said despite the governor's orders about 10 people or less in a gathering and instructions regarding social distancing, the 17 people were still hunkered together in the small space.
"There are two other locations in Indianola that we are aware of that we are currently watching, so hopefully this will put them on notice that at any given time they could be next. So we are hoping they will cease their gambling before we have to pay them a visit".
The raid was initiated around 9:45 p.m. on Friday. A bond was set for Lee and he has subsequently bonded out of jail.