Police bust illegal gambling operation; seize $1 million

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - From the outside looking in, Duke's Place on Oliver Street in the West End may seem like just another community convenience store. But behind closed doors, police say an after hours illegal gambling operation was taking place.

"It's been operating for several years, its been a constant source of complaints from the neighborhood," said Lt. Col. Vincent Demasi of the Cincinnati Police Department.

Police arrested Derek Ragan, the owner of Duke's along with 16 others that were gambling. Ragan was arraigned Monday morning, and had his bond set at $1,120,000.

"I've walked through before, and I've noticed that it's a lot that goes on back there," said Lashell Calloway, who live nearby.

Authorities seized $1 million from the establishment as well as Ragan's home, they also found weapons, drugs and stolen merchandise.

"Everything from stolen socks to stolen beer to fire arms to drugs," Demasi said.

Police say patrons would pay close to $1,000  to get in a secret back room where there was a high stakes illegal poker game.

"It's been kind of a thorn in the side of the West End community," Capt. Teresa Theetge of the Cincinnati Police Department.

It was the community that tipped them off, according to police and those neighbors now hope that West End residents can use the place for a better purpose.

"It's a pretty nice place in the back, and other things could be going on back there like family gatherings and birthday parties, it's a lot of different things you could be doing besides gambling," Calloway said.

Ragan faces a number of charges including operating a gambling house and money laundering. If you have any information on this operation call Crime stoppers at 513-352-3040

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