MAXTON, N.C. (WBTW/WNCN) - More than 24 members of the Tuscarora Nation have been arrested following a massive raid on several illegal casinos in Robeson County.
Earlier Monday, more than 200 law enforcement officers were at properties near Maxton.
According to Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey, at least 200 law enforcement officers were assisting the State Bureau of Investigation in serving warrants in the area near Modest Road and Oxendine School Road, which officials later said two illegal casinos were raided.
A news release from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations says the arrests followed a "year-long multi-agency investigation that found the group operating three illegal casinos, an unlicensed police force, and a marijuana grow house."
The group was also "found to be manufacturing narcotics and making threats of war," the release said.
According to the release, the casinos had illegal gambling machines in "blacked-out buildings with no clocks." The casinos operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week and had "heavily-armed security who were not only unlicensed, but using blue lights in their trucks."
The casinos were located at 1345 Modest Road in Maxton, 129 Nancy Lane in Pembroke, and 1521 Opal Road in Red Springs.
Those arrested include the Tuscarora Nation's leader, Kendall Locklear, his son, Keton, and those who worked at the casino, according to the release. Robert Chavis was arrested on charges for two stolen guns.
The following people were arrested for "felonious operate, allow to be operated, and keep in possession of illegal slot machines" and gambling:
Kendall Locklear, 57
Michelle Locklear, 46
Kendrick Locklear, 21
Micheal Locklear, 17
Fredrick Hawkins, 45
Timmy Oxendine, 46
Perry Locklear, 44
Timothy Jacobs, 44
Keton Oxendine, 24
Jerry Oxendine, 59
Edith Oxendine, 55
Miranda Jo Dial
Robert Chavis, 62
Derena Chavis, 52
Felicia Campbell, 46
Dustin Warriax, 48
Richard Sampson, 44
Marcus Bullard, 19
“Citizens living near the casinos complained of the illegal activity taking place and notified law enforcement,” says Terrance Merriweather, the head of N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement, the agency that executed the search warrants. “This group openly expressed beliefs that neither the laws of North Carolina nor the United States applied to them, putting law-abiding citizens in danger. We hope today’s arrests provide a safer community for them.”
“Most of the offenders arrested today were considered to be armed and dangerous and many have criminal records,” Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey says. “People living in those towns were scared of the activities taking place around the casinos. At the end of the day, this operation is all about community betterment.”
The Robeson County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives worked with the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement in the operation. Several other departments assisted in the arrests including: Lumberton Police Department, Maxton Police Department, Red Springs Police Department, N.C. National Guard, Virginia National Guard, campus police from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, the Department of Public Safety K-9 Unit, and the Division of Motor Vehicle License and Theft Bureau.
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