By Patrick Yost, Editor
A more-than-two-month investigation ended last Tuesday as Morgan County and Putnam County authorities arrested 11 men on gambling charges.
According to Capt. Chris Bish, Criminal Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Harold “Tyrone” Alford, 67, was arrested at his Clarks Ford Road, Buckhead, residence after authorities executed a search warrant on the house. Bish said the house had been under surveillance and investigators believed the residence was used for “high stakes” card games.
Bish said Alford was charged with one count commercial gambling, one count keeping a gambling place and possession of an illegal firearm. Bish said the felony charges against Alford came after authorities alleged that he was consistently holding the card games in the basement of his residence, was providing food and alcohol for participants and was taking percentages of every winning pot. Alford was released following his arrest from the Morgan County Detention Center on a $25,000 bond.
The other 10 men arrested were all charged with misdemeanor gambling.
Bish said $6,600 in cash was seized during the raid. Authorities entered both the front door of the residence and a garage door that led to a basement last Tuesday night and made the arrests without incident.
“The magnitude of the money involved and the length of the gambling activity… it was our duty to stop it,” Bish said.
He said Morgan County authorities had been tipped by Putnam County authorities that the games were occurring. Both agencies then worked the residence and developed intelligence that the games were played several days each week.
He also said that the arrests were made, in part, to thwart the possibility of violent crimes and robberies from occurring at the residence. “We could have had a bigger problem on our hands because they presented an opportunity for robbery or assault.”
The following were also arrested in the gambling raid: Marvin K. Brown, 48, Eatonton, one count misdemeanor gambling; Jefferson P. Davis, 30, Eatonton, one count misdemeanor gambling; Andrew P. Fields, 39, Monticello, one count misdemeanor gambling; Ryan A. Johnson, 23, Madison, one count misdemeanor gambling; Ronnie C. Ledford, 50, Buckhead, one count misdemeanor gambling, one count misdemeanor possession of marijuana; Larry G. Manley, Jr. 57, Eatonton, one count misdemeanor gambling; Hoyt Sanders, 73, Milledgeville, one count misdemeanor gambling; Timothy H. Thompson, 41, Milledgeville, one count misdemeanor gambling; Harvey C. Vinson, 72, Milledgeville, one count misdemeanor gambling; and James A. Waters, 47, Eatonton, one count misdemeanor gambling.