SUGAR LAND (Covering Fort Bend News) – A jury has convicted Maria Zapeda Sevilla of gambling promotion after deliberating for only 25 minutes. The 39-year-old Houston woman was arrested after an extensive undercover operation by the Fort Bend County Narcotics Task Force into the Keno Game Room, located in Sugar Land, throughout the months of April and May 2016.
According to Assistant District Attorneys Craig Priesmeyer and Alycia Curtis, Sevilla was a key participant in the operation of the Keno Game Room, an illegal gambling establishment with approximately 100 gaming devices. Sevilla worked as an attendant in the game room, routinely paying customers cash for their winnings on the illegal gambling devices.
“These kinds of places are a breeding ground for violent crime because of the large amounts of cash on hand at all times,” said Priesmeyer, the lead prosecutor on the case. “They need to be shut down for the safety of our community.” Evidence showed that at the time of the raid in 2016, the game room had approximately $35,000 in cash on the premises.
Sevilla was tried before Judge Sherman Hatton, Jr. in County Court at Law No. 6. Gambling Promotion is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000. After the jury’s verdict, Judge Hatton sentenced the defendant to 10 months of probation during which she will have to complete 40 hours of community service.