CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Ten people were charged after an illegal gambling operation was busted in Cherokee County.
According to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, officials raided a business on Feb. 7 at 1111 Cherokee Avenue in Gaffney in reference to illegal gambling operations.
“I just want them to know that these machines are illegal in South Carolina and if we find that you’ve got these machines, our folks are going to make the arrest, you’re going to jail and you’re going to have your day in court,” said Sheriff Steve Mueller.
Mueller said they were able to bust the illegal operation thanks to an anonymous tip.
He said the investigation lasted 3 to 4 months.
At the time of the execution, six people were playing the gambling machines along with an attendant overseeing the operation.
Deputies said they found 11 machines inside the business.
Deputies charged four out of the six people playing the unlawful gambling machines. However, they were summoned to court and not physically arrested. They are listed as followed:
- Terry Wayne Dawkins, 65, of Gaffney
- Leslie Terell Littlejohn, 52, of Gaffney
- Mika Jeannette Austin, 43, of Gaffney
- Bobbie Jo Dover, 48, of Gaffney
The two other people playing the poker machines were arrested after deputies found drugs in their possession. They were charged with the following:
- Mia Bryson 48, of Gaffney, was charged with unlawfully gambling and possession of methamphetamine
- Julie Elizabeth Dase, 46, of Gaffney, was charged with unlawfully gambling and possession of schedule II drug fentanyl
The last person arrested that day was the attendant, Sharon Dyer Davenport, 51, of Gaffney. She was charged with gambling keeping a gaming house and eleven counts of gambling, unlawful possession operation of slot, video or gambling device.
On Feb. 8, deputies arrested Sherry Yvonne Wilson, 64, of Gaffney, another attendant, who they said was helping run the illegal poker machines, and one of the owners, Douglas Gene Humphries, 53, of Gaffney.
They were both charged with gambling keeping a gaming house and eleven counts of gambling, unlawful possession operation of slot, video or gambling device.
On Monday, investigators arrested the other owner, Kenneth Wade Branch, 23, of Gaffney, after he surrendered himself at the Cherokee County Detention Center on the same charges.
Sheriff Mueller said all the arrests were made over the course of a week.
He said they believe Kenneth Branch and Douglas Humphries were the ringleaders.
“We believe that they owned the machines and went in together in splitting the profits and proceeds from the illegal gambling location,” he said.
The sheriff said places like these are usually breeding grounds for drug use, like in this case, or for human trafficking and prostitution.
“We’re not going to tolerate that in our community and we’re very appreciative of the tips that led us to make these 10 arrests,” said the Sheriff.
Sheriff Mueller said, based off of the information they recovered, they think the illegal gambling operation was in business for close to a year.
The sheriff’s office said this months-long investigation resulted in 56 changes brought against 10 people, the seizure of 11 gambling machines and $5,916.
Anyone with information about illegal gambling operations or illegal activity is asked to call 1-888-CRIMESC.