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Sheriff raids alleged 'mini casino'

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Sheriff's vice force raided a Rex business, Friday, on allegations it was "a mini casino." The joint vice force -- composed of the Clayton County Sheriff's Office and deputized Morrow Police officers -- arrested 22 people on gambling charges, and two people on charges of running a gambling operation, at the business called "The Break," according to Commander James Calloway, with the Morrow Police department.

Hosea Trice was arrested and charged with running the establishment, with possession of marijuana and possession of a concealed weapon.

Gerald Woods, was charged with running the establishment.

Mark Martin, the legal owner of "The Break," was not at the location, Friday, and Calloway said the task force has a warrant out for his arrest.

Papers have been filed, Calloway said, to seize the business and its assets. The agents also seized about four ounces of marijuana, three firearms, cocaine, several thousand dollars in cash and 10 video slot machines.

According to the vice force's investigation, "The Break" had slot machines and poker games, that paid out in cash, which is illegal in Georgia.

Undercover agents gambled at the Rex business, receiving cash pay-outs. During one undercover operation, an agent also entered a pool-playing tournament that paid the winner $350 in cash, Calloway said.

"It was set up as a mini casino," Calloway said. "The employees of the business gave out free beer and food to people who were playing games."

The joint task force has been in operation since the summer of 2006. In that time, the joint Morrow-Sheriff's operation has raided 13 spas, which were allegedly offering prostitution, alleged counterfeit clothing stores, alleged piracy operations in Atlanta, alleged gambling operations in Morrow and an alleged gambling operation in Jonesboro called "The Poker Palace."

The force also threatened to seize all the video-gambling machines in gas stations throughout the county, but backed down when lawyers informed officials that the machines were legal, unless they paid out in cash.

The forces goal is to "eradicate issues in the county that directly affect quality of life issues," according to Calloway.

Sheriff Victor Hill, who is seeking re-election in 2008, has made "quality of life issues" a major plank of his political platform.

In a campaign message on www.reelectsheriffvictorhill.com, Hill says it is his mission to "clean up Clayton County from crime and corruption."