Gambling charges keep coming

Published 6:31 pm Sunday, May 23, 2010

Community Editor

Two more people face gambling charges after officers executed search warrants at BB’S Sportsbar &Billiards and the Moose Lodge in Beaufort County on Thursday night.
Lou Firth, the Washington Daily News’ circulation director, was charged with two counts of operating a game of chance and two counts of allowing gambling to occur in an ABC licensed establishment. Washington resident Kenneth McKeel was charged with one count of each. ALE Agent Rusty King issued Firth and McKeel their citations Friday afternoon.
Firth’s citations stem from two separate occasions in which alleged illegal Texas hold ‘em tournaments were taking place at the Moose Lodge — April 27 and May 18.
Firth and McKeel’s charges are in addition to gambling charges brought against Thomas Tyrkala on Thursday night.
King, assigned to ALE’s New Bern office, said the charges are the result of a two-month long investigation that was initiated after someone complained about illegal activities at BB’S and the Moose Lodge. BB’S is located on West Fifth Street, in the Moose Lodge’s former location. The Moose Lodge is located on Flanders Filters Road.
King said that Texas hold ’em tournaments taking place at the two establishments were not being conducted in accordance with state law.
In addition, the New Bern ALE office will submit violation reports concerning BB’S and the Moose Lodge the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, King said. BB’S and the Moose Lodge face fines and/or suspensions of their state-issued permits to serve alcoholic beverages, if the ABC Commission determines they violated state law, King said.
In addition to ALE agents, officers with the Washington Police Department and Beaufort County ABC officials executed the search warrants, King said.
ALE agents are authorized to enforce the state’s gambling laws, according to the N.C. Department of Crime Control &Public Safety’s Web site.
“North Carolina law states that it is illegal for any person or organization who operates a game of chance or who plays or bets on any game of chance that involves winning money, property or anything of value shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor,” reads the Web site.
Firth, McKeel and Tyrkala are scheduled to appear in Beaufort County District Court on July 20.