MAXTON – Members of a sovereign citizen group faced charges Monday of gambling, manufacturing controlled substances and money laundering at illegal casinos in Maxton, Pembroke and Red Springs. Vehicles, currency, marijuana, firearms and over 200 illegal gaming machines were seized during the raids.
More than 26 people of the Tuscarora Nation were arrested following a year-long multi-agency investigation that found the group operating three illegal casinos, an unlicensed police force and an indoor marijuana grow with multiple outdoor grows. The group was also making threats of war against law enforcement.
“Citizens living near the casinos complained of the illegal activity taking place and notified law enforcement,” said Terrance Merriweather, head of N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement, the agency that executed today’s search warrants. “This group openly expressed beliefs that neither the laws of North Carolina nor the United States applied to them, putting law-abiding citizens in danger. We hope (Monday’s) arrests provide a safer community for them.”
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives worked with ALE on the year-long operation.
The casinos had one-arm bandit, Pot of Gold and other illegal gambling machines housed in blacked-out buildings with no clocks. The casinos operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week and all had heavily-armed security who were not only unlicensed, but using blue lights in their trucks.
Those arrested include the Tuscarora Nation’s leader, Kendall Locklear, 57, his son, Keaton, the armed personnel at the casinos and other casino employees. Robert Chavis was arrested for possessing two stolen guns.
“Most of the offenders arrested today were considered to be armed and dangerous and many have criminal records,” said Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey. “People living in those towns were scared of the activities taking place around the casinos. At the end of the day, this operation is all about community betterment.”
The casinos are located at 1345 Modest Road, Maxton, 129 Nancy Lane, Pembroke, and 1521 Opal Road, Red Springs.
In addition to the law enforcement agencies named above, others participated in today’s arrests including the Lumberton, Maxton, Red Springs Police departments, the State Bureau of Investigation, the N.C. and Virginia National Guard, campus police from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke; Department of Public Safety K-9 unit, Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau.
The following people were arrested for felonious operate, allow to be operated and keep in possession of illegal slot machines; and gambling include: Kendall Locklear, 57; Michelle Locklear, 46; Kendrick Locklear, 21; Micheal Locklear, 17; Fredrick Hawkins, 45; Timmy Oxendine, 46; Perry Locklear, 44; Timothy Jacobs, 44; Jeffrey Ingram; Keton Oxendine, 24; Jerry Oxendine, 59; Edith Oxendine, 55; Miranda Jo Dial, no age given; Robert Chavis, 62; Derena Chavis, 52; Felicia Campbell, 46; Dustin Warriax, 48; Richard Sampson, 44; and Marcus Bullard, 19.
The investigation is continuing.