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Etowah County authorities raid Rainbow City business, seize suspected bingo machines (...

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Etowah County authorities raid Rainbow City business, seize suspected bingo machines (updated)
William Thornton I wthornton@al.com By William Thornton I wthornton@al.com Email the author I Follow on Twitter

on June 28, 2013 at 3:19 PM, updated June 28, 2013 at 5:48 PM GADSDEN, Alabama -- Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin said his
View full size Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin. (Special/Etowah County Sheriffs Office)

department raided a Rainbow City business this afternoon and seized two suspected electronic bingo machines. Entrekin said the raid happened at 1 p.m. at Center Stage in Rainbow City, 206 Rescia Avenue. Investigators also arrested one person, who faces two misdemeanor charges - one count of promoting gambling, and one count of

possession of a gambling machine. The person was later released from the Etowah County Detention Center on $2,000 bond.

Undercover law enforcement officers went into the facility to verify the playing of the machines, said Department Spokeswoman Natalie Barton.

"We have worked hard, along with other law enforcement agencies, to enforce Alabama laws that state electronic gambling devices are illegal," Entrekin said in a statement. "And until those laws are changed, we will continue to do so."

Just yesterday, Entrekin turned down a request for an electronic bingo permit for CBS Supply, the developer of a proposed $200 million bingo development in the county. Entrekin said the machines came close to being legal, but he would not issue the permit.

For more details on the CBS Supply decision, read this Gadsden Times article. © 2013 al.com . All rights reserved.

http://blog.al.com/east-alabama//print.html?entry=/2013/06/etowah_county_authorities rai... 7/10/2013

"Gambling Devices Seized" from Etowah County Sheriffs Office : Nixle

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6=0 Etowah County Sheriffs Office
Friday June 28th 2013 • 05:29 p.m. CDT

Advisory

Gambling Devices Seized ' -°

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(Etowah County, AL) Etowah County Sheriff's Office investigators seized two electronic
bingo machines today in Rainbow City, according to Sheriff Todd Entrekin.

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"Michelle Regina Garbe, 51, of Gadsden, was arrested and charged today with one count of promoting gambling and one count of possession of a gambling device, both are misdemeanors." states Investigator Josh Morgan.

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Sheriffs Office investigators seized the machines from Center Stage, located at 206 Rescia Avenue, Rainbow City, at 1:00 p.m. today. Undercover law enforcement officers went into the facility to verify the playing of the gambling devices.

"As a 30 year law enforcement officer in Etowah County, we've always arrested and prosecuted anyone who brings illegal electronic gambling machines in the county," Sheriff Entrekin said. "We have worked hard, along with other law enforcement agencies, to enforce Alabama laws that state electronic gambling devices are illegal. And until those laws are changed, we will continue to do so."

Garbe was booked into the Etowah County Detention Center and later released on $2,000

bond

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Address/Location Etowah County Sneriffs Office 827 Forrest Ave Gadsden, AL 35901 Contact Emergency: 9-1-1 Non-emergencies: 256-546-2825

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Bingo machines seized, woman arrested
By An y Powell Times Staff Writer Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 7:02 p.m.

Two electronic bingo machines were seized Friday at Center Stage in Rainbow City and a Gadsden woman was arrested on misdemeanor charges, according to Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin Sheriff's office investigators seized the machines from Center Stage, at 1 p.m., according to a news release from the sheriffs office. Undercover law enforcement officers twice went into the facility to verify the playing of the gambling devices. Michelle Regina Garbe, 51, was charged with Michelle Regina Garbe one count of promoting gambling and one count of possession of a gambling device. Entrekin said he believes, but could not say for certain, the machines seized were the same ones that CBS Supply, which hopes to bring electronic bingo to Etowah County, had tested by Gaming Laboratories International to see if they met state and local requirements for bingo. Entrekin earlier this week turned down a request from CBS for an electronic bingo license, saying he did not think the machines played traditional bingo. CBS Supply, the developer of a proposed $200 million bingo development in the county, had submitted a report from GLI. It said the SilverLine Systems machines, manufactured by Select Electronic Devices Inc., passed the standards governing legal bingo in Etowah County. Those standards include a six-point requirement set by the Alabama Supreme Court as to what constitutes legal bingo in the state. CBS Supply in a press release said Entrekin's own expert said the machines comply with the law, and the sheriff "has a duty to permit CBS's games and allow it to develop this huge economic development project for Etowah County." Entrekin said a license for paper bingo was issued Thursday to 13th Place at Center Stage. He said he was told a sign was displayed at Center Stage saying proceeds would go to 13th Place. He said Garbe asked for an attorney when she was interviewed by investigators and would not answer questions. Garbe was booked into the Etowah County Detention Center and later released on $2,000 bond. Garbe in a telephone interview would not confirm that she worked for CBS. Her attorney, Roy McCord Jr., in a telephone interview said that he and his daughter, Catherine McCord Bailey, have been retained to defend Garbe in criminal proceedings.

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McCord said he did not know if Garbe works for CBS. He said she was in possession of the machines when the sheriff's department did the undercover sting. He said the machines "probably" were owned by CBS, but he could not say that with certainty. "I never asked that question," McCord said. "These machines were the machines that were tested by the folks in New Jersey and were certified." McCord said if this goes to trial, he would attempt to show that the machines are legal. He said the machines operate the same as paper bingo machines and meet the Alabama Supreme Court's standards for legal bingo.
Entrekin said officers first went to Center Stage Thursday evening after receiving

information that the machines were being played, then went back Friday. "As a 30-year law enforcement officer in Etowah County, we've always arrested and prosecuted anyone who brings illegal electronic gambling machines in the county," Entrekin said. "We have worked hard, along with other law enforcement agencies, to enforce Alabama laws that state electronic gambling devices are illegal. And until those laws are changed, we will continue to do so." Copyright © 2013 GadsdenTimes.com — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.

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Etowah County DA dismisses charges from last week's gambling raid

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AL
Etowah County DA dismisses charges from last week's gambling raid
William Thornton I wthornton@al.com By William Thornton I wthornton@al.com Email the author I Follow on Twitter

on July 02, 2013 at 12:32 PM GADSDEN, Alabama -- Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp today announced he is dismissing charges of possession of a gambling device against
a Gadsden woman which stem from a sheriffs department raid last week.

Michelle Garbe, 51, was charged with possession of a machine and with promoting gambling, both misdemeanors. An agent from the county's drug enforcement unit entered Center Stage in Rainbow City Friday and played an electronic bingo machine as part of a raid.

Harp said he is dropping the charges because it is "clear to me that the defendant and those involved in the operation staged this entire event and forced (Etowah County) Sheriff (Todd) Entrekin to make an arrest."

Harp noted there were only two machines at the business, not enough to generate significant money for a charity. Last week, Entrekin turned down a request for an electronic bingo permit for CBS Supply, the developer of a proposed $200 million bingo development in the county. Entrekin said their machines came close to being legal, but he would not issue the permit. Harp said this incident is related to Entrekin's decision.

"I am convinced that CBS Supply is attempting to use the criminal court system to get what they have been unable to obtain in the civil court system which is a permit from the Sheriff," Harp said in a statement. "Sheriff Entrekin did, in my opinion, what he is expected to do when he made this arrest and I would expect that he will do it again if called upon. However, I will not have my office used as a mechanism to determine the legality of electronic bingo."

Harp said his decision was dictated in part by an already heavy caseload for his office, including capital murder cases and crimes against children. He also said the decision does not mean he is expressing an opinion on the legality of bingo.

Etowah County DA dismisses charges from last week's gambling raid

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continuing to investigate both civil and criminal issues with regard to electronic bingo in various areas in Alabama and certainly may reinstate these cases if it wishes." © 2013 al.com . All rights reserved.

http://blog.al.com/east-alabama//print.html?entry=/2013/07/etowah_county_da_dismisses_.. . 7/10/2013

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Entrekin won't release bingo machines, wants them destroyed
By Andu Powell Times Staff Writer Published: 71tesday, July 9, 2013 at 4: 1 4 p.m.

Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin has refused to release two electronic bingo machines and a computer server seized last month as gambling devices in a case in which the criminal charges have been dropped, and has begun the process to have them destroyed. Entrekin said he doesn't know what the equipment is worth, but thinks it's very valuable.
"I still believe it's an illegal machine, and based

FILE -Marc GoldenI Gadsden limes

FILE - Sheriff Todd Entrekin talks about a case at a press conference, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, at the Etowah County Sheriffs Office in Gadsden, Ala.

on that, I'm going to file forfeiture proceedings on it to have it destroyed," he said Entrekin said he has given the paperwork to District Attorney Jimmie Harp. "I look forward to running over them with a bulldozer," he added. Attorney Roy McCord is representing Michelle Garbe of Gadsden, who had been charged with promoting gambling and possession of a gambling device, both misdemeanors. McCord said he asked Entrekin on Monday to release the machines and server to Garbe since the charges were dropped and no crime had been committed. Entrekin, however, in a letter Tuesday to McCord, said the property was seized from Center Stage in Rainbow City because his office had reasonable cause to believe it was being used "in a manner inconsistent with Alabama law (i.e. in furtherance of illegal gambling)." Entrekin said he would not be in a position to release the property "absent an order from an appropriate court." McCord said he and Garbe are studying their options. He said he has been told the machines are owned by CBS Supply, which had hoped to develop a $200 million bingo development off Interstate 59 near the Etowah-St. Clair County line. He said the machines and server were in his client's possession when they were seized June
28.

PUT AN END TO EXCUSES.

Harp, who dismissed the charges against Garbe, saying the event was staged in an effort to get an electronic bingo license through the court system after Entrekin refused to issue one, said seizing and destroying gambling items is routinely done. "Just because we don't prosecute the criminal act doesn't mean we can't do a civil forfeiture," Harp said. "That happens all the time." "We can do a civil forfeiture case, and that's what we're going to do," he said, adding that the process should not take long. "We've destroyed a bunch of gambling devices," Harp said.

http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20130709/NEWS/130709824?template=printpicart

7/10/2013

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McCord and his client could challenge the forfeiture to try to get the machines back, Harp said, adding, "I'm sure they will." Copyright © 2013 GadsdenTimes.com — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.

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7/10/2013