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Two sweepstakes/gambling businesses shut down in Trenton

Gilchrist County Sheriff’s officers were able to shut down two sweepstakes gaming houses aka simulated gambling establishments within the city limits of Trenton on Wednesday, April 4. Detective Keagon Weatherford lead a two month long investigation of the establishments. The investigation came after complaints of alleged illegal gambling operations at both Fish Tales and American Egale. (sic)
Search Warrants were served simultaneous at both gaming/sweepstakes locations after lunch on Wednesday.
During the investigation probable cause at both locations was found to be conducting illegal activities such as illegal games of chance (FS.849.16) with cash payouts to the game winners. It is believed that investigators armed with search warrants found other illegal activities also.
Since Fish Tales opened in September of 2016 and American Egale opened in March of 2016, numerous complaints have been made to the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Trenton Public Safety Department. The complaints included burglaries, thefts, armed robbery, armed assaults, narcotic violations, and increased vehicle related infractions.
The patrons inside the businesses were detained and questioned, then released. All the gaming machines were confiscated by the Gilchrist County Sheriff Office. Two arrests were made at the scene and multiple charges are pending.
According to records at Trenton Town Hall, American Egale, located next door to the Subway at 806 E. Wade Street, was opened in March 2016. It changed hands in August 2016 and the current owner is listed as Natavarlal Patel. Fish Tales business license listed Ismail Bhai Ghunchi as the owner, it opened for business in September 2016. Fish Tales is located next door to Trenton High School at 715 North Main Street. A third sweepstakes business opened in Trenton during the last two weeks. That business is located next door to the Ace China restaurant at 1122 East Wade Street. The business license stated that Ashley Geiger of Lake City opened the business under the name AG Social Club.
The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Eighth and Third Judicial Circuits State Attorney’s Office and the City of Trenton Public Safety Department.
Sheriff Bobby Schultz and Chief Matt Rexroat of Trenton Public Safety Department stated that they support and encourage businesses coming to Gilchrist County and becoming part of the this community. However, those businesses must adhere and conduct business within the frame work of Florida State Statutes.
Florida Statutes 849.16 Machines or devices which come within provisions of law defined.—
(1) s used in this chapter, the term “slot machine or device” means any machine or device or system or network of devices that is adapted for use in such a way that, upon activation, w0hich may be achieved by, but is not limited to, the insertion of any piece of money, coin, account number, code, or other object or information, such device or system is directly or indirectly caused to operate or may be operated and if the user, whether by application of skill or by reason of any element of chance or any other outcome unpredictable by the user, may: (a) Receive or become entitled to receive any piece of money, credit, allowance, or thing of value, or any check, slug, token, or memorandum, whether of value or otherwise, which may be exchanged for any money, credit, allowance, or thing of value or which may be given in trade; (in part). It is believed that those winning at the gaming devices aka sweepstakes games were paid in cash.

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