Illegal gambling ring busted in Oak Ridge

Illegal gambling ring busted in Oak Ridge

Posted:
Around a dozen officers raided the building at 901 Oak Ridge Turnpike just after 9:00 p.m. on Sunday. Around a dozen officers raided the building at 901 Oak Ridge Turnpike just after 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.
"They knew what they were doing," Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi said. "They knew what they were doing," Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi said.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - From the outside, the building is non-descript, with a sign advertising for Jim's Off Road Center. Inside, however, Oak Ridge police say an illegal gambling operation was going on.

"There were two tables going, a dealer at each table, seven people playing, there was one person watching the operations in the main room and one person at the door," explained Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi.

Around a dozen officers raided the building at 901 Oak Ridge Turnpike just after 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.

"We seized a substantial amount of cash from [the person at the door] and he was arrested for the aggravated promotion of gambling and taken to jail," Chief Akagi said.

Police say Scott Stockstill, 35, was the ring leader of this operation. Two dealers, Jeffery Ray Smith of Kingston and William Harold Bailey of Clinton, were cited on misdemeanor charges.

Chief Akagi said the illegal gambling club had a membership of around 80 people. There were 20 there Sunday night, ranging in ages from 21 to 70.

"There was a camera on the door of the building, with a video monitor inside so they could see who was coming in and coming out so I would call that an organized operation, they knew what they were doing," Chief Akagi said.

Chief Akagi says none of the men have been arrested before. He says the police had been watching the gambling ring for a while.

The building is owned by attorney Lawrence Tunnell, who didn't want to speak on camera about the raid.

Tunnell told 6 News he was surprised by raid. He said Stockhill had rented the building for about a year. He described Stockhill as a nice guy.

Customers at a neighboring business say it was obvious something was going on.

"Every time I've been here there have been way too many cars, not enough people in the building to cover the vehicles out here," said Jennifer Meneghello, of Oak Ridge.

People at other neighboring businesses echo those observations, saying the parking lot would be full during non-business hours.

"It was obviously being used for illegal gambling. This was not something they just set up in a night," Chief Akagi explained. "It had been going on for two or three months."

6 News spoke with one of the dealers, William Bailey. Bailey said they never meant to be a nuisance. It was just a "friendly game of poker."

The investigation is ongoing and police say more charges could be pending.

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