Cameron County, state and federal law enforcement agencies began a shutdown of all eight-liner establishments in the County Saturday upon the culmination of an 18-month criminal investigation known as Operation Bishop.
Five eight-liner establishments were raided: Pink Suite near La Feria; Lucky Place Arcade in Harlingen; Golden Arcade in Harlingen; M77 Game Room in Olmito; and Sahara Inn in Brownsville. There are none of these establishments within the city limits of La Feria. Eight arrests were made with owners and managers charged with various gambling violations and at least one arrestee charged with organized crime. The 456 seized machines will be forfeited and destroyed.
Operation Bishop will continue through December until all eight-liner establishments in the County are closed. Two hundred eight-liner establishments currently operate in the County. Property owners will also be placed on notice that they may face losing their properties if they continue to allow eight-liners in their buildings.
“The average eight-liner business generates thousands of dollars in revenue daily,” said District Attorney Luis V. Saenz.
“This is revenue known to benefit organized crime. This is revenue that doesn’t benefit our community, because it’s not being spent in our community.”
It is estimated that the eight-liner industry generates at least $300 million annually. The money is known to leave the County and even Texas.
“When money stays in the community, sales tax revenue goes to your local governments and allows them to provide resources for you – better streets, more libraries, more services, etc. Let’s not forget job creation and sustainability,”
Saenz added. “I look forward to the day I can run a steam roller over them.”
Operation Bishop is the first operation of its kind in terms of number of agencies working together to curtail what is known as a criminal epidemic in Cameron County.
Agencies and entities participating in Operation Bishop are: Cameron County Judge’s Office and Cameron County Emergency Management; Cameron County District Attorney’s Office; Cameron Sheriff’s Department; Constables Offices; DEA; FBI; the Department of Homeland Security; Willacy County EMS; Brownsville PD; Harlingen PD; and San Benito PD.