CCSO: West Ashley business was operating illegal gambling parlor, 25 machines seized

More machines seized by CCSO (Source: CCSO)
More machines seized by CCSO (Source: CCSO)
Wei Chen (Source: CCSO)
Wei Chen (Source: CCSO)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - An investigation from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office has led to charges for one man as well as the seizure of multiple gambling machines.

Wei Chen, 49, is charged with 25 counts of unlawful keeping of gaming machines, 2 counts of unlawful games and betting as well as simple possession of marijuana.

Chen posted a $90,615 bond on Tuesday.

The CCSO major case unit seized 25 unlawful gambling machines. Fourteen were located at the illegal gambling parlor on the 2100 block of Savannah Highway which advertised itself as a game and computer repair business, according to CCSO spokesman Roger Antonio.

The business itself was a complete front to the gambling operation, according to deputies. Vice cops were tipped off that it had been going on since February 2017.

Deputies did surveillance on the place.

"We were able to get in to the business and actually play some games," Lt. Nikki Moniz said Tuesday.

Mike Binder owns a business in the building.

"Totally surprised. You never see an abundance of cars in the back or anything or a cluster of people, so pretty shocking," Binder said.

Vice cops say the gamblers couldn't go through the front door to play. They had to go to the back of the building, make a phone call and then get buzzed in.

Deputies weren't done with the operation.

They got a search warrant for a house on Savage Road.

There they found 14 more machines.

"Never surprised in this world," said Alecia Green who lives two doors down.

Detectives seized $16,904 of suspected gambling proceeds.

Less than a gram of marijuana, a dose of oxycontin, and 1.1 grams of MDMA was also found, Antonio said.

The gambling machines were valued at $50,000.

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