Police in Charleston County, South Carolina announce the arrest of 27 local players – those arrested included a deputy prosecutor who, upon looking at a jail cell from the other side, submitted his resignation. The officer taken under custody, Don Sorenson, has 13 years of service in Calhoun, Dorchester and Orangeburg counties – he was among the players taken to jail during a raid on the private home of Martin and Dawn Reyes, the location of the illegal gambling ring.
According to reports, officers conducted the raid after obtaining a search warrant. Police stormed the Reyes residency where they confiscated approximately $40,000 of the players’ money. The recent bust is the fruit of a ten month long investigation; although there are already conflicting reports coming from Dawn Reyes that the games being run by her husband at their home have only been going on for eight months.
Charleston County Sheriff’s Major John Clark alleged that the Reyes had paid pit bosses and dealers in an illegal poker operation that involved 65 employees. Dawn Reyes has denied this, saying that her husband was the sole proprietor of this gambling circle and that he was not being paid to manage the games.
Clark announced in an official release that, “This was an organized poker operation in which they had people in positions who were acting as employees. They were being paid to do their jobs.”
Despite the barrage of conflicting reports by Dawn Reyes, John Clark was adamant about his position that the games were part of a larger, over-arching organized entity, “This isn't boys' poker night out," he said. "This isn't just friends getting together and playing poker for a quarter or a dollar.”
Clark said that authorities identified four locations aside from the Reyes’s residence where the same core group of poker players would convene on specific nights to engage in illegal casino-style gambling. The raid on the Reyes’ home took place at roughly 10 p.m. Friday night and resulted in the arrest of 26 people. One more player was arrested Saturday at an undisclosed location.
In a recount of the raid given by Dawn Reyes, she says that minutes before she was going to take a shower police stormed through her front door as well as the bottom floor where the couple has a small office and a game room. The raiding officers left little, seizing two poker tables, the plastic tables Reyes used for snacks, a ceiling-mounted projector and its accompanying screen, and they also took their flat-screen TV. This is the second such raid that has taken place in America in the last month and both raids were the result of long term investigations.
Unfortunately, the total cost of these investigations has not been disclosed, nor has the reasoning for focusing so much time and effort towards busting normal citizens for partaking in a crime that affects nobody but themselves. Is American society so perfect that officers are spending their time busting gambling circuits instead of solving cases of domestic abuse, gang violence and finding out where America’s meth labs are popping up?