Columbus’ regional Metro Narcotics Task Force raided two convenience stores for gambling machines Friday and arrested two workers.
Agents served search warrants and seized five gaming machines from each business, said Sgt. Robert Austin. At a 3457 Victory Drive Chevron station, they arrested Bassam Khouri, 32, on charges of commercial gambling and keeping a place for gambling, Austin said.
At Jeff’s Fine Foods II, 2103 S. Lumpkin Road, they arrested Samin Amin, 40, on the same charges, the sheriff’s sergeant said.
Authorized to operate in multiple counties, the task force has officers from various law enforcement agencies in the Columbus area, including Columbus police and the Muscogee sheriff’s office. Austin said a police special operations unit aided agents serving search warrants around 9:30 a.m. Friday.
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The investigation is part of an ongoing operation prompted by complaints of stores with gambling machines that pay winners off in cash, which is illegal in Georgia, Austin said.
The task force on Feb. 28 conducted a similar raid at the T&T Food Mart on Warm Springs Road just west of the bridge over Interstate 185.
Austin said the suspects arrested Friday are to have a preliminary hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court at 9 a.m. Saturday.