Local News

Police hit jackpot in illegal gambling bust

Posted October 6, 2008

— Dozens of people were arrested during an illegal gambling bust in Fayetteville over the weekend.

Officers received a complaint in March about a gambling house operating at 407-A Festus Ave. Friday evening, members of the Narcotics Vice Suppression Unit, the Special Projects Unit and the Emergency Response Team served a gambling search warrant at the house.

The officers charged 39 patrons, many of them Fort Bragg soldiers, with illegal gambling.

Officers say they collected playing cards, poker chips and approximately $12,000 in cash as evidence. They also seized poker tables, flat screen TVs, surveillance cameras, and gambling paraphernalia.

In addition to the gambling charges, patron John Preston Melvin, 27, was charged with trafficking opium and heroin, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana.

Police said they also found three handguns in vehicles on the premises.

The owner of the house, Christian Patrick Lusardi, 36, was charged with gambling and illegal alcohol sales. His mother, Diana Lusardi, was charged with illegal gambling.

Officers seized between $6,000 and $7,000 from Lusardi at the Festus Avenue house and an additional $3,000 to $4,000 from his Lullwater Drive residence, they said.


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  • 68_polara Oct 7, 2008

    These guys don't exactly seem like the guys we need taken off the streets. The good news is the Fayetteville must not have any real crime if the cops are out looking to bust poker games.

  • RICKJAMES Oct 7, 2008

    Glad I wasnt there! I've played there a few times. Good clean poker fun! No drugs are being done there or at any of these poker places ive been! Thats just someone that obviously had it in their vehicle! I do not see what is wrong with this. Just some people playing cards for money. But they (Law) still have more than a dozen places like this to find in Fayetteville. And thats just businesses that turn into poker houses at night.

  • yukonjohn3 Oct 7, 2008

    We have tournements from time to time and they start off at 40 people. It would not surprise me to see three guns in the cars of the guys that we play with...they are hunters, and maybe carry for personal protection...one regular is a state trooper, I hope he has his gun!! We could possibly even have a drug dealer or two in the crowd. We have GIs...quite a few of them. We also have school teachers, and even a couple on the school board. If they busted our tourneys, and only found 12,000, I would want to know who the cheapskate was!!! This is a game in Alaska, and we would never expect to get busted. It is a friendly game held at a friends garage. We set up 4 table tourneys about once a month...it is fun. NC needs to wake up and go after some REAL CRIMINALS!!!!

  • ContinuityMan Oct 7, 2008

    The state is ignoring the fortune they could make from licensing legalized gambling. Exact numbers are hazy, but there are more than 10,000 unregulated video gambling machines alone in this state taking in at least $180m. Controlling a piece of that could go a long way to funding education, among other things. And it's a 100% voluntary tax.

  • 68_polara Oct 7, 2008

    Gambling is only legal if big brother is running it.

  • jdman Oct 7, 2008

    did he paint that mustache on his face??????

  • offconstantly Oct 7, 2008

    looks like we caught a hanger sarge!!

  • jdman Oct 7, 2008

    Gambling shuoldn't be considered a crime....If that is the case.. get rid of the lottery!!!I guess it's a crime, judge on who is running the gambling....

  • copforlife Oct 7, 2008

    Drugs are being dealt to children at an alarming rate, Domestic violence is up, auto crashes/injuries involving alcohol is up. Illegal gambling??? Fayetteville PD obviously has nothing else to do.

  • murph Oct 7, 2008

    The only problems with this game was the fact that one knucklehead was selling opium and heroin and it also sounds like the house was selling alcohol which we know the state will not put up with.

    From the poker perspective it seems like the game just got a little too big for the location. The money sounds like a lot but it comes out to about $300 a person which is nothing. The police shouldn't be wasting resources busting poker games. There are real problems in society that should be way higher on their list than poker.