Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

March 2, 2009

8-liner raid nets arrests

Sheriff says drugs, thousands in cash confiscated over weekend

The new sheriff in town has declared war against illegal gambling.

At approximately 5:15 p.m. last Saturday, Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt and his deputies converged on seven different game room locations around the county with arrest warrants.

At least 11 people were arrested in the raids and other charges are likely to follow, Nutt said.

Since the new Henderson County sheriff took over in January, drug dealers and gambling establishments have paid a heavy price. Just in February alone, the department served over 165 arrest warrants.

Those arrested in Saturday’s raids were charged with the following crimes:

• Organized crime activity;

• Money laundering;

• Keeping a gambling place;

• Gambling promotion; and

• Possession of gambling paraphernalia.

Lawmen found more than just gamblers in Saturday’s raids, too: Officers seized 330 computer elements out of the eight-liner machines, $37,600 in U.S. currency and 11 grams of methamphetamine.

“We’re seeing a lot more narcotic dealers and users occupying these game room establishments,” Nutt said.

Those arrested in Saturday’s raids include:

• Valerlia Massengal, 41, of Bradenton, Fla. She is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and money laundering.

She was released Sunday after posting a $21,000 bond.

• Brandie Henderson, 20, of Kemp. She is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and was released Sunday on $10,500 in bonds;

• Paul Alexander, 45, of Ben Wheeler was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and was released the following day after posting bonds totaling $10,500;

• Lisa Alexander, 46, of Ben Wheeler was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and was released the following day after posting bonds of $10,500.

• Mendy Moore, 29, of Chandler was charged with gambling promotion, keeping a gambling place, possession of a gambling device and possession of gambling paraphernalia.

She was released the following day after posting bonds totaling $22,500;

• Elizabeth Dykes, 57, of Chandler was charged with gambling promotion, keeping a gambling place, possession of a gambling device and possession of gambling paraphernalia and engaging in organized criminal activity.

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