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Deputies raid Buffalo Ranch again in Robeson County, several people arrested

Tuscarora Nation, July 23, 2018. (Credit: WPDE file)

The site of an alleged illegal gambling operation is being raided again.

Robeson County Sheriff’s deputies, along with state and federal authorities, were back at the Buffalo Ranch of the Tuscarora Nation Friday afternoon on Modest Road near Maxton, according to Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins.

“Friday at approximately 11:45am, law enforcement authorities from the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, NC Alcohol Law Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, Lumberton Police Department and ATF served search warrants on property owned by Kendall Locklear and others located at 1349 Modest Road in Maxton. The property is known as the sovereign citizen group Tuscarora Nation by some locals in the area and was raided back in July leading to multiple arrest," Sheriff Wilkins said.

Sheriff Wilkins called Friday’s operation, 'Operation Bandit II' and said it began as complaints starting coming in a few months back that Kendall Locklear had started operating an illegal casino again with Pot O Gold video gaming machines.

40 illegal gaming machines, several guns, US currency and marijuana were seized. Kendall’s wife Michelle Locklear was also cited by ALE for possession of marijuana, according to Sheriff Wilkins.

The following people were arrested:

  • Kendall Locklear
  • James E Blue Jr.
  • Frederick Hawkins
  • Shania Harris

All four suspects face the following charges from NCALE:

  1. Misdemeanor Operating a game of chance to wit: 40 stand up cabinet model illegal slot machines, a game of chance at which money was bet. G.S. 14-292.
  2. Operate, allow to be operated, placed into operation, or keep in that persons possession for the purpose of operation any video gaming machine.
  3. Feloniously Operating or allow to be operated, placed in operation, or keep in possession five or more illegal slot machines, regulated under G.S. 14-306, to wit: 40 stand up cabinet model illegal slot machines.

Each suspect received a $100 thousand secure bond and were jailed.

Robeson County Drug Unit Detective’s charged the following suspects from the drug search warrant at a residence located across the street from the casino:

  • Herman Daniel Locklear- Possession with intent sell and deliver Marijuana, conspiracy to sell and deliver marijuana, maintain a drug dwelling, possession of drug paraphernalia. He received a $25 thousand secured bond.
  • Ronnie Smith- Possession with intent sell and deliver marijuana, conspiracy to sell and deliver Marijuana, maintaining a drug dwelling, possession of firearm by a felon. He received a $30 thousand secured bond.
  • Jason Locklear- Possession with intent to sell and deliver Marijuana, conspiracy to sale and deliver Marijuana, maintaining a drug dwelling. He received a $25 thousand unsecured bond.

Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said “Cooperative efforts such as this coupled with information from the public is imperative in helping to clean up our county. I personally thank all the citizens that have reached out to me and the other agencies mentioned”.

Back in July, about 26 members of the sovereign nation group were arrested on charges of gambling, manufacturing controlled substances and money laundering at illegal casinos in Maxton, Pembroke and Red Springs, according to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

The arrest followed a year-long, multi-agency investigation that deputies said found the group operating three illegal casinos, an unlicensed police force and an indoor marijuana grow with multiple outdoor grows.

Officials said back in July the casinos were located at 1345 Modest Road, Maxton; 129 Nancy Lane, Pembroke; and 1521 Opal Road, Red Springs.

The casinos had one-arm bandit, Pot of Gold and other illegal gambling machines housed in blacked-out buildings with no clocks.

They said 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.

"The investigation continues and more arrest are expected," Sheriff Wilkins said.

RELATED STORIES:

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26 sovereign nation members in Robeson County arrested for illegal casinos

Bond set for 14 members of sovereign nation arrested for illegal gambling

Robeson County Indian chief to stay behind bars due to links to drug trafficking


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