August 26, 2016
By Angelica Cabral
Two more people were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of gambling activities in connection with the Poker Union raids in Glendale earlier this month, according to police and court documents.
Both were seen working at Poker Union during two different undercover transactions, documents said.
Jeremy Ramon Muniz, 29, was seen working security in the front lobby of the operation, where he kept track of who came in and out, documents said.
Bethany Graham, 26, was seen in the back of the house, where she took cash from customers and then put credits into customers’ accounts, documents said. Customers could use the computers in the back room to go on the gambling sites.
Three others were arrested shortly after an Aug. 11 raid at the establishment, including two owners and operators and a tournament manager..
About 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, Glendale police, in conjunction with Arizona Department of Gaming, served a search warrant at a house in the 5400 block of North 59th Avenue where Graham and Muniz were living.
Muniz was taken into custody on suspicion of illegal control of a criminal enterprise, managing a gambling enterprise, both felonies; and benefiting from gambling, and two counts of possession of a gambling device, both misdemeanors.
Graham was taken into custody on suspicion of the same charges.
Muniz and Graham were taken to Glendale City Jail. They were released on their own recognizance after their initial court appearances Thursday.
Their next court appearances were scheduled for Sept. 8 in Maricopa County Superior Court.
On Aug. 11, Glendale police executed four search warrants linked to a nearly yearlong illegal-gambling investigation. One was for Poker Union at 717 W. Union Hills Drive. Another was for the Gold House, a cash-for-gold business at 17220 N. 19th Ave.
Poker Union billed itself as a members-only club where “poker is a sport; a game of skill more than mere chance of dumb luck, and not gambling in the same vein as other casino games where the house has an active stake and decidedly advantageous odds,” according to the company’s website. “Poker was played in Arizona long before casinos took over the game and claimed it as their own. It is time we take back what has always been ours and reclaim a game enjoyed around the world by men and women of every age, race and creed.”
Undercover operations in October, December and January confirmed that poker was being played, that cash fees were assessed and that owners or Poker Union were receiving a portion of the proceeds, court documents said.
Esho Odisho, 31, and Ashour Hermez Odisho, 45, were identified as owners and operators of Poker Union, and Bruce Lord, 46, was identified as its tournament manager. All three face charges as a result of the investigation, according to court documents.