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Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

SALISBURY — Orange County authorities arrested two Concord residents last week as part of a Rowan Sheriff’s Office investigation into illegal gambling operations.

Dharminkumar Ramsehbahi Patel, 30, and Darshitkumar Yogeshbhai Patel, 35, face several felony and misdemeanor gambling charges, including operating a video game machine, unlawful game promotions and operating slot machines. They’re part of a growing list of people facing charges for their involvement in so-called “fish arcade” businesses, which get their name because of the animals depicted in the games.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has worked to shut down fish arcade businesses since late 2019 because it considers them to be illegal gambling businesses. The most recent criminal charges, however, are tied to raids conducted in March at Salisbury and Concord locations.

On March 22, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office raided two fish arcades on Old Mocksville Road and a third on Statesville Boulevard. With help from the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement officers also executed search warrants at the Patels’ Concord residences. Law enforcement officers seized more than 100 gambling machines and $800,000 in cash.

“Evidence showed that the defendants were connected to these and numerous illegal gambling locations in the Piedmont of North Carolina,” a news release stated.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said the Patels surrendered to law enforcement on Thursday in Orange County and received written promises to appear.

To date, four people have been arrested in the gambling investigation. A Salisbury man, Diallo Antonio Finger, 48, was also charged last week with illegal gambling charges.

Several others face outstanding warrants, including Ektaben Yogeshkumar Patel, a clerk at D D Xpress Discount Mart; Yunikka Yvette Price, a clerk at 2143-C Statesville Blvd.; Dennis Lamont Davis, Jr., a security guard at Gold Fish, 2143-C Statesville Boulevard; Deaizha Keshira Phillips, a clerk at Gold Fish, 3371 Old Mocksville Road; Tasha R. Crisco, a clerk at Gold Fish, 3371 Old Mocksville Road; and Dakota Hunter McKinnon, a security guard at Gold Fish, 2143-C Statesville Blvd.  The security guards are charged with firearm registration permit violations. The clerks are charged with felony and misdemeanor gambling violations.

The investigation is ongoing. A news release said the Rowan Sheriff’s Office plans to take enforcement action against other illegal gambling operations in the county.

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