Live Oak Liquors on Highway 135 South in Lakeland was one of the nine stores raided
Live Oak Liquor Store
Lanier County Sheriff's Deputies guarding the door at the Live Oak Liquor Store
The Bulldog Fuel Stop #3 on Highway 84 in Stockton was also raided in the bust
Law enforcement officials work to process evidence inside the Bulldog Fuel Stop convenience store
Stockton, GA -
Seven people have been arrested after raids in four south Georgia counties by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
The operation named "Operation Liberty Bell" began over two years ago.
Alapaha Judicial Circuit District Attorney Dick Perryman says the charges against the seven include commercial gambling, conspiracy to commit commercial gambling, keeping a gambling place, communication of gambling information and solicitation of another to gamble.
Perryman has filed a civil RICO action to seize the assets, property and proceeds from the accused gambling operations.
The seven people charged are Nilesh S. Patel aka Neal Patel, Bhagavatiben Patel, Bhavinkumar Joshi aka Bobby Joshi, Steven Meadors, Jr., Austin Woods, Rajendrakumar Patel aka Raj Patel and Dharmistaben Patal aka Tina Patel.
"Operation Liberty Bell" began when Lanier County Sheriff Nick Norton assigned special investigators to look into complaints of gambling in the county.
The investigation grew to include the District Attorney's Office, GBI Gambling Enforcement Unit, Georgia Department of Revenue, Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, Berrien County Sheriff's, Ray City Police Department, FBI Gang Task Force and the U.S. Department of Customs and Immigration Enforcement.