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Federal Indictment Charges Five Men with Operating an Illegal Casino on the Saint Regis Mohawk Reservation

 

James Gray, William Roger Jock, Thomas Angus Square, and Anthony Laughing, Sr., each of Hogansburg, New York, and Joseph Hight, of Atlanta, Georgia, have been charged in a federal indictment with conducting an illegal gambling business and unlawfully possessing gambling devices. Square, who is 57 years old, was arrested Tuesday on the Saint Regis Mohawk Reservation. A federal search warrant also was executed Tuesday at Three Feathers Casino. Jock, 51, and Laughing, 65, surrendered late Tuesday afternoon at the United States District Court in Plattsburgh. Gray, 56, and Hight, 49, have not yet been arrested.

The federal indictment, returned December 12, 2012, alleges two counts against Square,

Gray, Jock, Laughing, and Hight. Count 1 alleges that from about July 13, 2011, through September 10, 2012, the five defendants operated an illegal gambling business in Three Feathers Casino, or aided and abetted the operation of the Casino, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1955 and 2, and New York state law. The maximum potential penalty for Count 1 is imprisonment for 5 years and a fine of $250,000. Count 2 alleges that from about September 1, 2010, through December 12, 2012, the five defendants knowingly possessed gambling devices in Indian Country, or aided and abetted this activity, in violation of Title 15, United States Code, Section 1175 and

1176, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2. The maximum potential penalty for Count 2 is imprisonment for 2 years and a fine of $250,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Gaming Commission did not issue a gaming facility license for Three Feathers Casino and issued a Cease and Desist Order to the Casino in January of 2012.

The indictment alleges that active operation of the Casino continued until about September 10th, when it reportedly was “Closed for Remodeling” (as a sign indicated).

Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations (of Immigration and Customs

Enforcement of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security), investigators with the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) in Massena, and officers of the Saint Regis Mohawk Police Department conducted a search of the Three Feathers Casino in the morning hours of December 18, 2012. Officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Enforcement Operations, the United States Border Patrol, and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance. At the same time, the New York State Police executed a state search warrant involving the power supply to the Casino in connection with an ongoing larceny, criminal tampering and theft of services investigation. The state’s search warrant focused on a power pole, which transports electricity to the casino, the ground transformer located outside the casino and the main power entrance located inside the building. The casino is alleged to have stolen more than $200,000 of electricity from National Grid over the past two years through the use of an unauthorized power connection. No arrests were made in connection with the state warrant, and investigation continues in that case.

The initial appearances of Laughing, Jock, and Square in federal court on the indictment have occurred. Laughing was released on a $50,000 bond with electronic monitoring. Jock was released on a $10,000 bond. Square was detained pending a hearing on Thursday, December 20th. Trial is scheduled for February 11, 2013, in Utica, New York.

 

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