Home News Local news POLICE TO FOCUS ON ILLEGAL GAMBLING ACTIVITIES

POLICE TO FOCUS ON ILLEGAL GAMBLING ACTIVITIES

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Sept. 5, 2001 – Two weeks after 25-year-old Kaunda Bryan was killed on St. Croix in an argument over an illegal horse race, Police Commissioner Franz Christian announced he will crack down on "illegal gatherings" involving drag races, horse races, cock fights and dog fights.
In a release distributed Wednesday afternoon, Christian said he has directed Police Chief José Garcia "to take a more pro-active approach" in enforcing the law with regard to these illegal activities.
Deputy Chief of Police Theodore Carty told the Source the police can break up such gatherings "once we get information these things are happening."
He added that police "can prevent these illegal activities" when they know they are going on.
Police do know where some of the activities take place. Drag racing on Veterans Drive near Gottlieb's Quickway on St. Thomas is a common occurrence. Carty confirmed that police stopped a drag race on that highway the night after school started last week, when hundreds of young people were gathered along the road waiting for the action — which never happened — to begin.
Much of the time, however, police don't know when the illegal activities are going on and must rely on the public for information.
Carty said the gambling that accompanies the illegal competitions can spark violence. Christian, in his release, similarly noted that such "illegal forms of betting" often "initiate arguments, with some resulting in fatalities."
Some of the activities are not illegal in particular settings. Horse racing and cock fighting are legal when conducted in "facilities already in place for the express purpose of legally accommodating" them. There used to be drag racing at a track in Nadir, and there have been proposals to set up a track on St. Croix.
As far as gambling, according to Carty, wagering on horse races is legal at designated tracks and off-track betting parlors, but wagering on cock fights is illegal.
He said legal cock fights are conducted in approved "pits." However, he said that dog fighting is illegal under all circumstances, adding that he supports the animal rights bill which was killed in committee last week, in part due to Sen. Adelbert Bryan's adamant opposition to the bill. Kaunda Bryan was the senator's son.
From now on, Christian said, police will arrest anyone involved in promoting or organizing these types of "non-sanctioned" racing and fighting and will disperse fans gathered for the events.
Police asked that anyone with information on such illegal activities call the emergency number 911 or report it to a police station.

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