Monticello – During Judge Bynum Gibson‘s last circuit court session, a local business owner, charged with “keeping a gambling house,“ accepted a plea bargain, to bring his criminal case to a close.
The business, known as J-Birds, in Wilmar, had been the site of multiple visits from state police representatives, during May – June.
During visits to the establishment, “players” usually paid $20, and upon leaving were paid with various amounts of currency.
County tax records show the suspect owns the property. The gaming machines are reportedly owned by Arkansas Cending LLC of Little Rock.
Khalid Mahmood, faced a maximum sentence of a class D felony with imprisonment not to exceed six years and a fine of up to $10,000.
The case was postponed multiple times because of the need of a translator. The defendants attorney told the court that he spoke Punjabi (known ad the language of the WWE’s Great Khali) required a translator to be flown in from California.
Another part of the file in the prosecuting a attorneys office states that on June 23, Bradley County sheriffs office and Warren PD executed a search warrant on a convenience store in Warren for operating a gambling house. They seized several thousand dollars, five gaming machines, and other evidence from that store. That same day, the owner of the Wilmar store unplugged their machines.
One afternoon in early August, the Wilmar clerk told an ASP agent they were told to unplug their machines until further notice, by the company they leased from.
The clerk also stated that patrons of the business were “missing their big payouts.”
In bringing the case to a close, Judge Gibson accepted Mahmood’s plea to a misdemeanor charge, and issued a suspended imposition of sentence, 12 months probation, and a $1500 fine.