8 Residents Arrested in Aberdeen Gambling Raid
By Tom Embrey
Eight Moore County residents are among 20 facing charges after state alcohol enforcement officers raided an illegal gambling operation outside Aberdeen, authorities said.
Officers on Monday seized $60,000 and illegal drugs after raiding a business at 707 S. Pinehurst St., Suite A, according to a news release from the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division.
ALE began investigating after various complaints were lodged about illegal activity at the location.
David Williams, agent in charge of the Fayetteville office of ALE, called the setup a "high-stakes" operation, according to media reports.
The owner of the building, Mike Locklear, declined to say much about the incident. He said the tenant, whom he declined to name, had rented the space for about a year, and he had received no complaints and heard no rumors about illegal activity.
When asked what kind of business the renters were running, Locklear first said he "had no clue," and when pressed he said "they might have had something to do with construction."
Tim Strickland, who rents a suite next door to the one authorities raided, said on Monday he left the building between 7:30 and 8 p.m. and didn't see anything unusual.
He described the activity level at the raided suite as sporadic: "Occasionally I'd walk out and there'd be 20 cars in the parking lot. Other times there'd be nothing."
In addition to the cash, law enforcement officers seized a little more than an ounce of cocaine, a small amount of marijuana, and illegal prescription opiate drugs, the release said.
Those from Moore County arrested are:
- Stacy Dunagan Oliver, 35, and Justin Oliver, 32, both of the 100 block of Kings Ridge Court in Southern Pines. They are charged with operating any game of chance at which money is bet, use of a gambling table, and allowing gambling in a house of public entertainment.
- Lou Ann Ryder, 40, of the 1000 block of Quewhiffle Road, Aberdeen, operating a game of chance at which money is bet.
- Paul Cooley, 65, of Baron Drive, Pinehurst, gambling.
- Mark Smith, 53, of the 200 block of Woodland Drive, Pinehurst, gambling.
- Anthony Chapman, 33, of Saint George Lane, Pinehurst, gambling.
- Michael Barbera, 79, of Shibui Gardens, Southern Pines, gambling.
- Darrell Cole, 61, of the 2500 block of Linden Road, Aberdeen, gambling.
The charges are all misdemeanors punishable by a maximum of six months in jail.
The others arrested and charged were from Fayetteville, Laurinburg, Wadesboro, Hamlet, Lilesville, Wagram and McColl, S.C., the release said.
Another man who works in the complex and declined to give his name said he was unaware of the raid, but did say he had heard rumors for a while about possible illegal activity.
"People would say, 'Do you know what they are doing in there?'" he said.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or tembrey @the pilot.com.
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