|Police in the American state of South Carolina arrested 27 people and confiscated some $40,000 following a raid on a home poker tournament last week.|
Among those arrested Friday in the town of Hanahan was Don Sorenson, First Circuit Deputy Solicitor representing Calhoun, Dorchester and Orangeburg counties. The prosecutor tendered his resignation the following day and is now on unpaid suspension.
Most of the arrests took place at the home of Martin and Dawn Reyes with police stating that the operation was the culmination of a ten-month investigation. According to Major John Clark from the Charleston County Sheriff's Department, 65 people have been linked to the operation and his office arrested twelve people and charged 15 others for unlawful games and betting.
'This isn't boys' poker night out,' said Clark.
'This isn't just friends getting together and playing poker for a quarter or a dollar. This was an organised poker operation in which they had people in positions who were acting as employees.”
Clark stated that the group hired bosses and dealers and played with as much at $60,000 a week. He said that his office had also identified four other locations where the same core group of players met on specified nights to play.
Poker is illegal in South Carolina under a 200-year-old state law prohibiting dice and card games. Reyes stated that she took the raid seriously but that the law banning gambling in the southern American state needed to be changed.
'It's something in the privacy of your own home,' she said.
However, Clark described the games as an efficient operation with buy-ins as high as $1,000 per game and the host receiving a portion of the take.
'They had specific nights that they gambled,” said Clark.
“The bosses determined where the games were being held and determined the buy-in.'