Smyrna Police bust casino-style gambling operation at hotel

(Smyrna Police)

UPDATE: Poker players are caught red handed when police raid a casino style gambling operation in Smyrna.

Investigators say poker games took place three times a week at a local hotel complete with alcohol and a buffet.

The newly constructed Candlewood Suites Hotel is a long way from the nearest casino but police say that didn't stop two men from improvising their own high stakes poker tournament.

"This is probably a higher end poker table somebody could buy for home recreational use," said Sgt. Bobby Gibson.

Sargent Bobby Gibson says the owners of these tables had something else in mind when they rented meeting space at Candlewood Suites several times a week.

"As you can see quite a bit of money, chips and two guns as well," said Gibson.

Tuesday night officers raided a poker tournament in progress seizing $18,000 in cash, guns, poker chips and a small amount of marijuana.

"I don't know the exact amount of money being transferred," said Gibson. "We did have several people involved. We interviewed them they said they had lost and won money in the thousands."

The alleged organizers, Russell Hairr and George Barton are charged with aggravated promotion of gambling and possession of gambling devices.

"Anytime something like that is going on, we have drugs we have money with firearms, it's a safety concern for us,"

Police say the hotel is cooperating along with nearly a dozen people caught at the tables.

Investigators say there could be more charges and arrests.


Smyrna Police said two people are facing charges in a casino-style gambling operation at a hotel.

Officers executed search warrants at two locations on Tuesday. Police said $18,000, guns, gambling paraphernalia and a small amount of narcotics was seized.

Russell Hairr and George Barton are both charged with aggravated promotion of gambling and possession of gambling devices.

Both suspects are being held in Rutherford County Jail.

The investigation is ongoing and other charges are pending.

Fox 17 News will be obtaining photos of the seized property. Keep checking back for the full report.

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