Local News

Police hit jackpot in illegal gambling bust

Posted October 6, 2008 6:57 p.m. EDT
Updated October 6, 2008 11:34 p.m. EDT

— 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.