Three casinos have been raided by the authorities of North Carolina on Monday under allegations that the venues were illegally operated by the Tuscarora Nation. Currently, the latter is not recognized as a Native American tribe by either federal or state authorities.
In addition, as revealed by the local State Bureau of Investigation, 26 members of the citizen group are facing charges on unlawful gambling, controlled substances’ manufacturing, as well as money laundering at illegal casinos situated in Red Springs, Pembroke, and Maxton. Reportedly, Kendall Locklear, the leader of the Tuscarora Nation, was also among the people arrested. The arrests were carried out following a year-long investigation. North Carolina authorities seized more than 200 illegal gaming machines, currency, vehicles, etc. during the raids.
The Tuscarora Nation was described by Terrance Merriweather, head of North Carolina’s Alcohol Law Enforcement department, as a “sovereign citizens group” which has openly demonstrated its beliefs that neither federal US laws or North Carolina state laws applied to them.
Mr. Merriweather explained that local citizens living nearby had complained of the illegal activity taking place there and notified the state’s law enforcement authorities and expressed hopes that the arrests would provide a safer community for law-abiding citizens.
Illegal Gambling Machines Situated in the Three Casinos
The organization, headed by the 57-year-old Mr. Locklear, was operating three casinos situated in warehouses in Pembroke, Maxton and Red Springs. The three locations were raided simultaneously by local, state and federal law enforcement officers from the three locations’ Police departments, the North Carolina and Virginia National Guard, the State Bureau of Investigation, Department of Public Safety K-9 unit, etc.
According to information provided by Derwin Brayboy from the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement agency, the three casinos used to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As mentioned above, more than 200 illegal gaming machines were seized from the three gambling venues as a result of the raids. At the time of operation, venues featured slot machines, as well as other unlawful gambling machines situated in blacked-out buildings with no clocks. In addition, each of the locations had heavily-armed security, who also had no license to operate as such.
Apart from the group’s leader, Kendall Locklear, and his son, Keaton, the rest of the people arrested included the armed personnel at the three casino venues, as well as other casino employees. Among those arrested was also the 49-year-old Timothy Bryan Jacobs, who was one of the two Tuscarora Indians who took hostages in the armed takeover of the Lumberton newspaper in 1988.
As revealed by Kenneth Sealey, the Sheriff of Robeson County, most of the individuals who got arrested were believed to be “armed and dangerous”, and many of the offenders also had previous criminal records. It also became clear that the Tuscarora Nation group also made threats of war against law enforcement.