2018-01-12 / Front Page

Raid nets poker machines; 2 arrests

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By TIM GULLA
Ledger Staff Writer

An anonymous tip ultimately led Cherokee County Sheriff ’s Office investigators to conduct a raid Wednesday morning on an alleged video poker operation in Blacksburg.

Agents with the Cherokee County Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at a mobile home at 170 River Hill Road at 7:45 a.m. and located 11 video poker machines inside along with more than $2,400 in cash, Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller reported.

The investigation began following the recent receipt of an anonymous tip that led investigators to begin surveillance of the property and ultimately send informants into the mobile home, Mueller said.

In addition to the machines and cash, Mueller said investigators also seized notebooks with notations of how much money had been collected from each machine and a telephone. Investigators planned to execute an additional search warrant on the phone, Mueller confirmed.

Two men were taken into custody.

Robert Coleman, 70, of 170 River Hill Road, Blacksburg, was charged with 11 counts of gambling / unlawful possession or operation of a slot, video, vending machine or gambling device, or one charge for each machine.

Danny Baxter Ruppe, 61, of John’s Cross Road, Blacksburg, was charged with the same 11 counts of gambling / unlawful possession in connection with the 11 machines that were seized, along with an additional charge of unlawful carrying of a pistol.

It was unclear exactly how long the alleged gambling operation was there, though Mueller said some dates on notebooks indicated the operation was open for a few months.

Investigations remain ongoing.

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