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20 illegal gambling machines seized from Roy convenience store, police say

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Posted at 4:31 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 00:33:22-05

ROY, Utah — Nearly two dozen illegal gambling machines were seized Monday during raid of a convenience store in Roy, officials said.

An investigation by the CASE task force — short for "Crimes Against Statewide Economy" — found that there were illegal machines inside a Texaco gas station at 4395 S. 1900 West, according to Detective Josh Taylor with the Roy City Police Department.

According to Taylor, the machines allowed people to put money in, play games, and cash out. He said there were about 20 of them inside the store.

The Utah Attorney General's Office later gave an update that 30-year-old Neel Jagdish Patel, the store's owner, was arrested and charged with 20 counts of fringe gambling devices, one count of money laundering, and one count of pattern of unlawful activity.

The AG's office said undercover agents had been observing the store for months. This included the agents going in, playing the games and receiving cash payouts.

There were people using the machines when officers served the warrant, but Taylor said they were able to leave and were not charged.

Taylor added that there used to be "quite a few" locations with machines like these in the city, but most of them are now gone.

The task force, which included the Utah Department of Public Safety, the Utah Attorney General's Office and local police agencies, executed a search warrant on the machines Monday. Taylor said his department mainly helped with the warrant, while others in the task force handled the main investigation. The AG's office said it involved undercover investigators.

READ: Utah man makes $8 million a year in cash from illegal gambling machines

He said a lot of people are familiar with the machines in the store, and many people go in and out of the store to use them.

The area is known for having "some more crime," Taylor said, but they hope this move helps to decrease that. One example of crime in the area occurred in August, when a man allegedly tried to kidnap a 10-year-old girl outside the same gas station.

"Thanks to our task force, investigators, and prosecutors, this operation won't hit the jackpot," the AG's office wrote in a Facebook post.

Taylor added that they had also seen comments on social media indicating that "a lot of people seem to be happy about ... the gambling aspect being closed down."