Two men involved in an illegal gambling operation in Middlesboro accepted plea deals in Bell County District Court on Tuesday. Harold Wayne Woodward, 42, and Dallas Shackleford, 79, both of Middlesboro, accepted a plea deal that would require them to forfeit the gambling machines and cash that was seized by the Kentucky State Police the day of the raid.
The third person allegedly involved in the operation, Joseph Akers, was also in court Tuesday but did not have an attorney to represent him. He will be back in district court on Feb. 12.
According to Bell County Assistant Attorney Chris Douglas, Woodward and Shackleford will not face jail time.
The three owners of Cumberland Market, the business where the alleged gambling operation took place, were originally arrested on first-degree promoting gambling charges. Each individual was released from the Bell County Detention Center on the day of their arrest.
The Kentucky State Police (KSP) raided the business about one month ago. According to a press release, over the course of a few weeks, KSP Post 10 in Harlan received several complaints regarding the use of illegal gambling machines in Bell County.
KSP detectives Tyson Lawson and Keith Saylor, along with Trooper Craig Miller, were assigned to investigate these complaints. During the raid, while Miller was inside Cumberland Market conducting his investigation, it was made known he was a trooper.
As a result of the investigation being compromised, the area was secured to preserve the evidence and a search warrant was obtained. After executing the search warrant, 12 illegal gambling machines were seized along with $963 in cash.
Anthony Cloud can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 208.