State agents seize gambling machines, cash in widespread raids

State Alcohol Law Enforcement agents, joined by local, county, state and federal officers, seized hundreds of electronic gambling and video gaming machines, more than $1 million in cash and drugs in raids on 115 businesses in the state Thursday, the agency announced.

In the Triangle, deputies from the Chatham County and Franklin County sheriff’s offices were in the task force for “Operation Cannonball,” SBI Special Agent Shannon O’Toole, an SBI spokesman, said in a statement.

Officials did not make arrests Thursday, but the investigation was continuing and arrests were expected, O’Toole said.

In addition to the machines and money, O’Toole said, cocaine was found at some places.

Most of the 115 businesses have licenses to sell alcoholic beverages and State Education Lottery tickets, the statement said, and agents planned to notify lottery and the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission about them.

O’Toole said the gambling and operations were paying cash to winners.

Gambling and video gaming machines are forbidden at ABC-licensed premises.

The federal agents working in the raid were from the Department of Homeland Security’s Investigations Division, O’Tolle said.

ALE is a division of the State Bureau of Investigation.