By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO – A Palo Pinto County grand jury handed out nine indictments last week, seven of which were sealed.
The first of the two open indictments was given to 47-year-old Douglas Wade Kennemer, of Boyd, for possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) between 4 and 200 grams. Kennemer was arrested by the Texas Department of Transportation on Dec. 23, 2012.
The other known individual indicted was David Lee Bridges, 48, of Graham, for engaging in organized criminal activity.
He was arrested on Dec. 4 of last year at his Graham home by Precinct 5 Constable Gary Morris with the help of the City County Narcotics Unit and the DPS’ criminal investigation division.
Morris told the Index that Bridges’ arrest stemmed from the use of gambling devices at Tri 7 Sweeps in Mineral Wells, where he was an employee.
Tri 7 Sweeps was one of eight venues in Palo Pinto County – seven of which were in Mineral Wells – hit in a large-scale gambling sting last September by regional law enforcement after an extended illegal gambling investigation.
During the September raid, the Mineral Wells Police Department worked in concert with the Palo Pinto County Sheriffs Office, county constables and Texas Department of Public Safety computer forensics specialists, troopers and criminal investigation officers to simultaneously conduct search warrants at all eight locations suspected of illegal gambling operations.
The locations hit included Wildkat Sweepstakes, the location formally known as Cowboys Internet Cafe, Tri 7 Sweeps, the Brazos Lounge, Mineral Wells Sweeps, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2399 and the American Legion, all in Mineral Wells, as well as Longhorn Smokes & Stuff at Possum Kingdom Lake.
Operating a gambling front is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, while simply participating in illegal gambling is a Class C.
At the time of the raid, Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer said the purpose of the raid was not necessarily to arrest everyone involved, but that charges would be filled.
According to the Texas Penal Code, Bridges’ offense of engaging in organized criminal activity is a state jail felony – upgraded from a Class A gambling misdemeanor.
Morris said Bridges was the last confirmed suspect from the gambling raid that had yet to be arrested.
Morris added that, because the investigation remains ongoing, more arrests could still potentially come in the wake of the raid in the near future.