Two arrested for operating illegal casino, drug charges

Man and woman also sold drug out of retail storefront on Ben Maddox


VISALIA – Two people were arrested last week for operating an illegal casino out of a retail storefront.

Tammy Gomes 53 years old of Visalia

Tammy Gomes
53 years old
of Visalia

At 3:22 p.m. on March 13, officers with the Visalia Police Department’s Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement (HOPE) Team, working with officials from the City of Visalia Code Enforcement, busted an illegal gaming business operating out of 1132 N. Ben Maddox Way, just north of Douglas Avenue.

VPD’s Property Crimes detectives arrested 17 individuals found participating in illegal gaming activities, including slot machines. A drug detection dog from Farmersville Police Department helped detectives find about three quarters of a pound of methamphetamine between the business and a vehicle parked in front of the business. Tammy Gomes, 53, of Visalia and James Booher, 52, of Exeter were arrested for possession of methamphetamine for sales.

James Booher 52 years old of Exeter

James Booher
52 years old
of Exeter

Several additional individuals were arrested for outstanding warrants and a casino employee was cited for gaming violations. Over $2,500 was seized from the business, as well as several slot machines. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this is encouraged to contact Detective Moffett of the Visalia Police Department Property Crimes Unit at 559-713-4574.

Visalia Police Log

Tuesday, March 13
At about 10:30 p.m. at Shop N Save, 329 NE 3rd, officers responded to a report of a shooting at the business. Upon arrival, officers located evidence of gunshots in the front door to the business. The reason for the shooting is unknown and no arrests have been made. The investigation has been forwarded to the Violent Crimes Unit for follow up and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Visalia Police Department.

Thursday, March 15
At 4 p.m. an officer with VPD’s gang unit made a u-turn to make a traffic stop on a vehicle at Tulare Avenue and Dollner Street. The driver of the vehicle, 21-year-old Juan Iglesias, opened the vehicle’s door and dropped a .357 magnum revolver onto the street. Iglesias was found to be on probation and in possession of a small amount of cocaine. The firearm was recovered from the street. It was loaded and had the serial number filed off. Iglesias was booked at the Tulare County Jail for several firearm and narcotic felony charges.

At 3:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of N. Irma St., officers with VPD’s drug and gang units served a search warrant. During the search, officers located a half pound of methamphetamine, scales, packaging materials, ecstasy pills, counterfeit bills and identity theft materials. The suspects were booked into the Tulare County Pretrial Facility on the following charges: Jessica Zamora, 32, was cited to appear in court for possession of a controlled substance; Nicole Newbold, 31, was booked for possession of methamphetamine for sale and being a felon in possession of ammunition; Eric Martinez, 32, was booked for possession of methamphetamine for sale, felon in possession of ammunition and a felony no bail warrant out of Madera County.

Sunday, March 18
At 9:54 p.m. in the 800 block of W. Robin, officers responded to a robbery that had just occurred. The victim told officers that the suspect approached her while she was seated in her car, opened the car door and demanded money. When the victim refused the suspect grabbed the victim’s purse and ran from the area. During a search of the area officers located the victim’s property on a canal bank. Upon expanding the search area officers located 45-year-old Michael Soto who was identified as the person who committed the robbery. Soto was booked for robbery charges at the Tulare County Adult Pre-trial facility.

At 11:19 a.m. in the area of Vine Street and Dinuba Boulevard, officers responded to a report of a female that was struck in the face with a stick. The suspect, 52-year-old John Ortega, was contacted after he brandished a weapon at a witness. He was booked for assault with a deadly weapon and brandishing. The victim was treated at a local hospital and released.

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