News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 14, 2013

State rounding up dozens from Valley in gambling probe

Investigation has taken 3 years; felony, misdemeanor charges pending

TERRE HAUTE — Dozens of felony arrest warrants have been served and more are in the pipeline in the culmination of a lengthy undercover investigation by the Indiana Gaming Commission around the Wabash Valley.

Fourteen people were arrested as of 1 p.m. Thursday, while an additional seven people were being sought on felony arrest warrants through Vigo Superior courts. Another 19 suspects will be summoned to court on misdemeanor gambling charges.

Larry Rollins, director of the gaming control division, said Thursday afternoon that the warrant sweep came almost three years after the investigation began.

“It just kept expanding,” Rollins said of the investigation. “We are always trying to work up to the highest level. If we had done the arrests earlier, we would have lost some of those.”

The illegal gaming involved poker game operations, betting on sporting events and other gambling, he said. Not all of the people arrested were gambling together, but they were aware of each other’s activities and “worked in concert with each other so they don’t step on each other’s toes,” he said.

He added that illegal gambling is not a victimless crime, because it can involve illegal drugs, weapons, animal fighting, income tax evasion and fraud. It may also lead to property crimes to provide money for gambling, Rollins said.

Thursday’s sweep was the single largest in the number of warrants issued at one time, he said.

In addition, two search warrants were served on locations – one in Vigo County and one in Parke. Details on the search warrants were not being released because pf the ongoing investigation.

Rollins also noted that additional arrests are possible as the investigation continues.

Those arrested on charges of class-C felony corrupt business influence and on class-D felonies of money laundering and professional gambling are identified as:

• Robert F. Dickerson, 32, of Terre Haute.

• Donald S. Featherstone, 44, of Terre Haute.

• Curtis J. Grayless, 38, of Terre Haute.

• Billy H. Joy, 44, of Terre Haute.

• Aaron R. Kerns, 46, of Sullivan.

• Jeffrey J. McClure, 62, of Terre Haute.

• Brian J. Myers, 43, of West Terre Haute.

• Carmen D. Shouse, 58, of Terre Haute.

• Billy J. Southard, 45, of Rosedale.

• James E. White, 48, of Terre Haute.

Arrested only on the class-D felony charge of professional gambling were:

• Weston D. Berner, 25, of Marshall, Ill.

• Donald L. Caylor, 69, of Terre Haute.

• Lee J. Poore, 41, of Terre Haute.

• James D. Sullivan, 51, of Terre Haute.

Caylor appeared in Vigo Superior Court 1 on Thursday morning, and later bonded out of the Vigo County Jail by paying 10 percent of a $2,500 bond.

The information filed in court stated that Caylor participated by operating a poker game, making change and raking chips around a poker table in an illegal game being conducted in a room at the VFW Post 972 in Terre Haute. A confidential informant and a gaming commission investigator both entered the VFW on multiple occasions starting in November 2010 and participated in illegal card games, the court document states.

Assisting in the investigation and warrant service were the Vigo County Drug Task Force, Indiana State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Terre Haute Police Department, Vigo County Sheriff’s Department and Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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