Gambling Raid in Crittenden County: Local Businesses Under Fire

  • Key Takeaway One: Nine individuals, including a Memphis teen, were arrested in Crittenden County, Arkansas, following raids on two businesses involved in illegal gambling.
  • Key Takeaway Two: Authorities seized 14 illegal gambling machines, over $9,000 in cash, two firearms, and marijuana from Stein’s Grocery and Market and a Valero station in Earle.
  • Key Takeaway Three: The owner, Mohamed Ali Ismail, faces felony charges for operating a gambling house, highlighting the seriousness of the crackdown.

In a scene straight out of a crime drama, the quiet streets of Earle, Arkansas, were disrupted by the flashing lights of Crittenden County sheriff's vehicles as deputies executed a well-coordinated raid on two local businesses. The target? An illegal gambling operation that had been hiding in plain sight.

On a seemingly ordinary Wednesday evening at precisely 7:20 PM, law enforcement descended upon Stein’s Grocery and Market on Arkansas Street and a Valero station on Highway 64. These establishments, though appearing innocuous to the untrained eye, were harboring a secret: 14 illegal gambling machines that had turned them into clandestine casinos.

The operation was the culmination of months of investigation, sparked by complaints from the community about the suspicious activities within these premises. It wasn't just the gambling machines that were uncovered; deputies also seized more than $9,000 in cash, two firearms, and marijuana, painting a vivid picture of the illegal undertakings.

At the heart of this illicit enterprise was Mohamed Ali Ismail, a 41-year-old resident of Earle. Ismail, who owns Stein’s and manages the Valero station, now faces two felony counts of keeping a gambling house. But he wasn't alone in his unlawful endeavors. Four employees and four customers, including 18-year-old Saad B Ghaled and 44-year-old Charles Townsend of Memphis, were swept up in the raid, each facing charges of their own.

This operation sends a clear message to those engaged in or considering illegal gambling operations: the law is watching, and justice will be served. The Crittenden County Sheriff's Office's decisive action not only disrupts a local chain of illegal activities but also serves as a deterrent to potential offenders.

For the residents of Crittenden County, the raid is a reminder of the ongoing battle against crime in their community. But it also reassures them that their law enforcement is vigilant, ready to act to keep their neighborhoods safe. As the dust settles on this dramatic event, the legal process will take its course. Yet, the message remains clear: illegal gambling has no place in Crittenden County.

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