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14 snared in restaurant gambling bust

TUCKER - A Gwinnett police vice unit hauled in 14 people suspected of trying their hands in an illegal gambling operation inside a Tucker restaurant Friday night.

An anonymous tipster told police in January of illegal gaming at a Pufferbelly's restaurant located in a shopping center at 4880 U.S. Highway 29.

Following an investigation, police raided the eatery just before midnight and found illegal poker machines in operation and card games under way, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said.

"Any patron that was involved with any type of gambling was arrested, along with the owner," Schiralli said.

Police confiscated several machines, $7,000 in cash and a handgun, which is all being stored as evidence, he said.

The restaurant's owner, Mi Sook Kim, of Tucker, faces felony charges of commercial gambling, as well as charges for possessing gambling devices and keeping a place of gambling. She posted $16,300 within hours of her arrest and was released from the Gwinnett County Jail.

State law forbids gambling in any form except licensed bingo, raffles, the Georgia Lottery and some electronic games. Schiralli said police rely heavily on tipsters to root out illegal gambling in Gwinnett's cities.

"Once we get a complaint or an anonymous tip, it's investigated thoroughly," he said.