Evidence Bulldozed

Property seized by the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department over the past eighteen months was destroyed Tuesday at the Pine Ridge Landfill.

128 gaming machines, all of them illegal, were cleared out of the sheriff's department's evidence room and then disposed of according to Mississippi law.

"And according to a ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court, they're illegal to possess," said Maj. Ward Calhoun. "So they have to be destroyed. There are no options there."

Most of this property was taken in June 2002 when a number of Lauderdale County businesses were raided by local law enforcement and the state gaming commission.

While the practice of paying off on this type of activity is apparently common, it violates the law.

"In the future, if we come across or discover illegal gambling machines in other locations throughout Lauderdale County, the individuals that have the machines will be prosecuted, the machines will be destroyed some day here at the landfill, just like these that we destroyed today. Now that the evidence room has been cleared, there is room for more," said Calhoun.

In June of last year, charges were filed against 18 people.