The Navarro County Sheriff's Office busted an illegal gambling operation Friday night at Arizona Charlie’s Bingo in Rice.

According to Sheriff Elmer Tanner, his department and the State Fire Marshal's Office responded to illegal gambling and fire code complaints. NCSO immediately secured the building pursuant to a search warrant.

District Judge James Lagomarsino signed an evidentiary search warrant and Detectives investigated for hours, photographing, recovering and seizing evidence and taking statements.

The officers located a room inside the building that contained approximately 76 machines that were believed to be utilized in an illegal gambling operation.

This case remains under investigation and as a result, arrest warrants are pending.

“Most bingo goers were oblivious to the gambling ring in the back room,” said William Dixon, Navarro County District Attorney. “They have nothing to fear from this investigation.”

Dixon said he was there personally at the beginning of the search and witnessed the professionalism of the Sheriff's Office.

“This seizure of illicit funds hopefully will deter other illegal gambling operations from operating in Navarro County,” he said. “We will take these cases to trial if necessary. Just last fall I went to trial on a gambling operation in Angus. In that case all the gambling machines were destroyed and the gambling money was forfeited.”