Police bust illegal gambling

DULUTH - Seven people were arrested Wednesday after police busted an illegal gambling operation at three gas stations.

According to reports, undercover officers - tipped off by friends and family members of store customers - actually gambled and received cash payouts from the electronic machines.

The three gas stations were a Texaco at 3255 Pleasant Hill Road, a Chevron at 3880 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. and a Citgo at 3056 Buford Highway.

In all, 13 machines were seized and gas station employees charged with commercial gambling, a felony, and keeping a gambling place, a misdemeanor.

Arrested were Sabina Azmi and Prasauth Thgirumala-Reddy of Duluth; Syed Shaw and Maxim Dsouza of Lilburn; Vijaya Kumaran Nair of Grayson; Zahid Habib of Suwanee; and Usman Safdar Toor of Lawrenceville.

It is unclear how long authorities investigated the operation or exactly what kinds of machines were confiscated.

A message left for a Duluth police spokesman was not immediately returned Friday.

Gwinnett County police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said it is not the machines themselves that are illegal, but the way they are used.

The most you can get is $5 ... anything over that is illegal," Spellman said. "Some places offer a store credit and that is OK also."

Gwinnett police are not involved in this investigation.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said machines involving only chance - not skill - are also illegal.

"In other words, a random, drawing type machine like a slot machine," he said.

Jail records show all seven suspects have been released on bond.