Law Enforcement Executing Search Warrants At Internet Cafes In Havana, Quincy

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Updated By: Julie Montanaro
April 4, 2014, 6pm

A task force in Florida raided several internet cafes this week and arrested one man.

Ivan Vega was arrested and accused of maintaining a gambling house, playing games of chance, and more.

Arrest papers say he owned two internet cafe's in Gadsden County.

Undercover officers logged on to computers there, and one had winnings totaling $91.00.

Undercover agents say one customer told them she had recently won $3000, but could only claim $500 in cash per day.

Search warrants were served at internet cafes in Havana and Quincy in March. Agents say they seized more than $38,000 in cash and hundreds of computers.

By: Lanetra Bennett
March 17, 2014

Gadsden County, FL - Two Internet cafes have their plugs pulled. Those two centers stayed open, even after Florida law shut Internet cafes down last year.

Eyewitness News was on the scene as the warrants were being executed.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says search warrants were served at the Internet cafe in the Piggly Wiggly shopping center in Quincy and at the location off Main Street in Havana.

Gadsden County resident, Willie Beachem, says, "I don't see anything wrong with them [Internet cafes]. They don't pull your arm to go in there. You go in there on your own charge. Sometimes you do make you a little money. I don't see nothing wrong with it."

City, county, and state law enforcement officers hauled equipment out of the buildings.

The manager of both centers say they closed last April when law was passed banning Internet cafes. But, they opened back up in January after a judge ruled they could operate under pre-reveal software. He says The City of Quincy and the City of Havana granted the approval to re-open.

The manager says authorities were confiscating items Monday, only to make sure they're using that software.

Gadsden County resident Angela Harris says she doesn't agree with Internet cafes personally, but, says they do have benefits. Harris says, "People need jobs. So many people in Gadsden County don't have jobs. I feel like this is a great opportunity for them."

Kathy McDevitt lives near the Havana Internet Cafe. She says, "I want them to have something without the gambling. But, you see I'm just one of those old fogies that's against gambling. I'd like to see that money put into creating real jobs."

When asked if she believes illegal activity was happening at Internet cafes, Harris answered, "I know it, because folks told me what they won. You don't do that legally."

Authorities have not released details of the search warrants. They say the investigation is ongoing.

By Emily Porter
WCTV Eyewitness News Web Staff
March 17, 2014

FDLE tells WCTV that law enforcement is currently executing search warrants on two internet cafes in our area.

Both the Havana Police Department and the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office are on scene at the Havana Internet Cafe on Main Street, where officers were seen carrying computers and monitors from the premises.

FDLE has also told us that this operation is being collaborated on by multiple agencies.

WCTV has reporters at both cafes, and will bring you much more information on this developing story as it is available.

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