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Deputies shut down video poker, spice stores
Mehul Patel

Three people are behind bars, facing commercial gambling charges, after Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies raided two convenience stores.

The investigation began over a month ago as a spice investigation which was being conducted by the ECSO Drug Suppression Team.

Deputies recovered more than $15,000, 13 video poker machines and over 40 packs of "spice."

"We have had ongoing complaints from concerned citizens about these stores selling spice and conducting commercial gambling," Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said. "Businesses that operate these machines and issue cash payouts are in violation of Georgia law."

Search warrants were conducted at One Stop Shop, Highway 119 North in Clyo, and the Eagle Food Mart on Columbia Avenue, in Rincon early Thursday morning.

Deputies will continue to conduct similar investigations focusing on businesses selling spice as well as conducting commercial gambling.  Mehul Patel, 26, of Rincon, Tehash Shah, 34, of Millen, and Sherman Griffin, 62, of Clyo, all have been charged with commercial gambling.

The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are expected.