7 nabbed, nearly 400 machines seized in NC video gaming bust, sheriff says

BOLIVIA, N.C. (WECT) — Nearly 400 video gaming machines and more than $250,000 in cash were seized Thursday in an operation by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.

CLICK TO VIEW MUGSHOTS, CHARGES AND ITEMS THAT WERE SEIZED

Seven arrests were made as part of the three-month investigation, which began due to community complaints.

The sheriff’s office executed 16 search warrants at various locations.

MOBILE & FACEBOOK USERS: Click here to view mugshots and more images

Officials with the sheriff’s office said that 387 video gaming machines were seized as well as more than $250,000 in currency.

More charges are expected in the investigation.

According to the sheriff’s office, those arrested were:

Eric Leon Deal, 41, Oak Island, is charged with possession of video gaming machines, promote, operate, or conduct server-based electronic game, and gambling. Deal was booked and later released from the Brunswick County Detention Facility under a $5,000 bond.

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Kevin Lyle Holcombe, 45, of Sunset Beach, and Timothy Edward Holcombe, 49, of Ocean Isle Beach, are charged with gambling, operating five or more video gaming machines, electronic sweepstakes, continuing criminal enterprise, and felony conspiracy. Both Holcombes were booked in and later released from the Brunswick County Detention Facility under $30,000 bonds.

Amie Lyn Gundrum-Gray, 55, of Sunset Beach, is charged with possession of video gaming machines, promote, operate, or conduct server-based electronic game, and gambling. She was booked in and later released form the Brunswick County Detention Facility under a $15,000 bond.

Claudia Lyndsay McGowan, 36, of Shallotte, is charged with gambling, operating five or more video gaming machines, felony conspiracy, and continuing criminal enterprise. McGowan was processed into the Brunswick County Detention Facility later released under a $15,000 bond.

Alvin Bryan Willis, 62, of Shallotte, is charged with gambling, operating five or more video gaming machines, operating/possessing gambling devices, and continuing criminal enterprise. Willis was booked into the Brunswick County Detention Facility and later released under a $15,000 bond.

Winfred Wesley Watson, 71, of Clemmons, is charged with gambling, operating five or more video gaming machines, felony conspiracy, and continuing criminal enterprise. Watson turned himself in to Forsyth County officials on Thursday and was issued a promise to appear in lieu of bond.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Shallotte Police Department, Ocean Isle Beach Police Department, Sunset Beach Police Department, Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department and the FBI Coastal Criminal Enterprise Task Force in the investigation.

In July, Superior Court Judge Ebern “Tripp” Watson entered a temporary restraining order preventing all law enforcement offices in the state from enforcing numerous NC gambling offenses in an Onslow County civil case.

“On Friday, Oct. 13, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled that Judge Watson lacked jurisdiction to issue such an order against law enforcement officers not a party to the Onslow County case,” the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office stated. “The ruling by the Court of Appeals cleared the way for BCSO to proceed with enforcement action arising from ongoing investigations.”

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