By Linda Looney-Bond
Clayton County Police raided two suspected gambling parlors in Jonesboro Wednesday, arresting one woman and four men.
Our Place, located at 1973 Ga. Highway 138, and Jan's Billiards, located at 1820 Noah's Ark Road, were raided around 12:30 p.m.
"Complaints were brought to the attention of the Clayton County Police Department through information obtained from the District Attorney's Office, as well as from citizen complaints," Clayton County Police Officer Kevin Hughes said in a statement. "Undercover agents conducted investigations on both locations and obtained information for a search warrant."
"Our investigation revealed that they had been paying out money, and the way the businesses were set up, ordinary citizens could not gain access," Deputy Police Chief Gregory Porter said during the raid.
"They [patrons] had to either be familiar with the person, or use some sort of code word to gain access to the business," Porter said.
Jan Riggi, 52, of Jonesboro, was arrested at the Noah's Ark Road location. She was charged with gambling, commercial gambling, keeping a place of gambling, and ownership, manufacturing, transfer or possession of gambling device equipment, according to Hughes.
Arrested at the Ga. Highway 138 location, and charged with gambling and commercial gambling, were Brian Ellison, 37, of Jonesboro; Ross Clark, 36, of Jonesboro; and Antoine Palacios-Lopez, 49, of Stockbridge, Hughes said.
Also arrested at Our Place was Norman Brown, 37, of Stockbridge. He was charged with gambling, commercial gambling, and keeping a place of gambling, according to Hughes.
"It's a collaborative effort between the police department and my agency to shut down these illegal establishments, with a clear message that, if you're going to run commercial gambling establishments in Clayton County, we're coming," said Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson, who was on the scene of the raids.
"We'll arrest your patrons for misdemeanors, we'll arrest the operators for felonies, and we're going to seize all of the assets," Lawson said.
All of those arrested were taken to the Clayton County Jail, according to Hughes.