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Bingo hall raid nets enough guns "to start a small war"

CBS News logo CBS News 8/22/2016 Crimesider Staff
Guns that the Harris County Sheriff’s Office says were confiscated during a raid on the Paradise Day & Night Bingo Hall in South Houston, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016.: bingo-hall-guns.jpg © CBS affiliate KHOU bingo-hall-guns.jpg

SOUTH HOUSTON, Texas — A Texas bingo hall looked more like a “doomsday shelter” when police raided it earlier this week, reports CBS affiliate KHOU

Authorities confiscated 100 guns, $87,000 and body armor, said Harris County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ruben Diaz. 

“Enough, what I would consider, to start a small war,” Diaz said during a Friday press conference. “This is one of largest seizures of guns I’ve seen in one particular spot.”  

Investigators found the stash of cash, guns, ammunition and body armor hidden in an underground bunker below the Paradise Day & Night Bingo Hall.

Owners Robert Jones and Fred Kennedy, along with 10 others, were arrested after a year-long undercover operation. 

Prosecutors also claim the owners were using family-owned ATMs to launder some of the $15 million in illegal earnings over the last four years.

But the suspects’ attorney denies those claims.

“It’s ridiculous is what it is. It’s a legitimate bingo hall,” said Stephen St. Mark, defense attorney. “They’re running a state-licensed bingo operation.”

Jones and Kennedy are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.  

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