Almost $9,000 in cash, several TVs, a surveillance camera and an iPad could soon be property of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office filed a notice of seizure and forfeiture of several items deputies took while raiding a so-called game room in May in Bacliff.
Deputies found almost $9,000 in cash, 48 machines, a surveillance camera, multiple TVs, an iPad, computer equipment and a printer, among other items, and are hoping to retain them for the department through asset forfeiture, according to the filing.
The June 8 filing in the 405th District Court is part of a months-long investigation and legal battle in civil courts against what a law enforcement officers allege are illegally operating game rooms.
All of the items seized in the raid, along with the game room itself — T&T Coffee Game Room — were listed as defendants in the civil filing, records show.
Civil judicial forfeiture is a process by which legal officials request to seize property allegedly used in a crime, but defendants have an opportunity to contest the seizure.
Gambling with electronic devices is officially outlawed in Texas, but businesses claiming to offer small non-cash prizes, limited to $5 or 10 times the cost of the game, whichever is smaller, are exempted.
Game rooms around the county use the exemption to operate facilities that have eight-liners, coin-fed electronic devices that operate similarly to slot machines.
The businesses have come under official scrutiny, however, because many violate the law by paying winners with money, numerous law enforcement officials have said.
Law enforcement officials, in an investigation that began in January, found evidence that operators of the Bacliff game room had been paying as much as $2,300 to customers, the filing asserts.
Three Houston men were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity in connection to the raid, the filing asserts. Those are Tri Minh Nguyen, Thanh Phuc Nguyen and Toby Toan Do, according to the filing.
MORE JOIN SHOOTING SUIT
More relatives of students killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School have joined the growing list of plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the accused shooter’s mother and father.
Pamela Stanich, mother of Jared Black, along with Shannan Claussen, mother of Christian Riley Garcia, joined to file the lawsuit.
The parents join a list that already included Mark and Gail McLeod, the parents of Aaron Kyle McLeod, and Rosie Yanas and Christopher Stone, parents of Christopher Jake Stone, who are the original plaintiffs in the suit filed May 24.
Authorities have charged Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, a junior at the high school, in connection with the shootings.
The petition accuses Pagourtzis’ parents of negligence in failing to teach him respect for life and for allowing him access to firearms.
Each party is seeking more than $1 million in damages, court records show.
Pagourtzis is accused of arming himself with his father’s Remington 870 shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver and committing one of the deadliest acts of school violence in Texas’ history.
Pagourtzis is being held without bond at the Galveston County Jail on a capital murder charge and a charge of aggravated assault of a peace officer, according to court records.
The defendants have not yet responded to the lawsuit, court records show.
DOG PARK SMELLS
A Maine man has filed a lawsuit against the city of League City, asserting smells and sounds emanating from newly opened dog recreation area has made a tract of land he owns unlivable.
Timothy Harrington filed the lawsuit on his own behalf Monday in the 122nd District Court, asserting officials installed the recreation area adjacent to land he owns in the 1300 block of Oceanside Lane.
“When the dog recreation area is in use it causes loud barking from dogs, strong odors from dog feces that the adjacent apartment complex tenants fail to pick up and dispose, and dog feces and mud entering onto plaintiff’s tract,” the lawsuit asserts.
The combination has made it impossible to rent or sell the property, the lawsuit asserts.
The lawsuit also asserts the area is abnormal and out of place in its surroundings.
The lawsuit does not specify how much Harrington is seeking in damages.
The defendant hasn’t yet responded to the suit, court records show.
Two trials are set for Galveston County courts this week, Assistant Criminal District Attorney Bill Reed, the felony division chief, said.
The 56th District Court will host a jury to hear evidence against Shonnon Deon Jenkins, 38, on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The 212th District Court will host a jury to hear evidence against Erika Diebel, 42, on charges of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and manslaughter.