John Christopher Borgstedt, 39, of Ben Wheeler, was convicted and sentenced on a state jail felony charge of engaging in organized criminal activity on Monday in the 114th District Court of Smith County.
Borgstedt was arrested by the Tyler Police Department on Nov. 30, 2016, after undercover investigations into an an illegal gaming establishment located at 829 Lindsey Lane.
Borgstedt pleaded guilty to the charge, was convicted and began his sentence when he was booked into the Smith County jail on Monday.
His guilty plea will require him to serve a six-month sentence in a state jail facility, according to the agreed punishment recommendation.
Another defendant in the case, Jason Henry Rankin, 46, of Terrell, had the state jail felony that he faced dropped and refiled as a misdemeanor gambling charge.
The state’s motion for dismissal came on May 13. The agreement stated that while there was sufficient probable cause at the time of the arrest and charge of Rankin for the offense, it is the state’s position that the interest of justice and judicial economy would best be served if the charge is dismissed.
Tyler police in December and January sent a series of letters warning business owners that gambling, promoting gambling, possession of gambling devices and keeping a gambling place are all illegal in Texas.
The Smith County Sheriff’s Office then sent a letter to nearly 50 game rooms in unincorporated areas within the county that was almost identical to the two sent by the police department.
At the time the original letters went out, police indicated they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of gaming rooms operating in the city, and officials said they believed the increase was contributing to more crime at those establishments.
Tyler police and the Smith County Sheriff's Office conducted more raids on May 17, when they seized electronic gaming devices and other evidence from seven locations.
The Tyler Police Department continues to process the evidence in the raids.