Ex-justice of peace, 2 others indicted for running illegal gambling operation in Surprise

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Luck's run out for three men accused of running an illegal gambling operation in the Valley.

Indictments were handed down in connection with what was going on at Ace High Card Room and Social Club at 127th Avenue and Bell Road in Surprise.

The operators are accused of taking bets as well as running card games.

The Arizona Department of Gaming says shops such as these can generate hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Harold Smith Lee Jr., of Tempe, Michael Orlando, of Sun City West, and an unnamed defendant have been indicted on charges of one count of conspiracy, one count of conduct of operating an illegal enterprise, two counts of promotion of gambling, one count of benefiting from gambling, and one count of betting and wagering.

The Tombstone-based International Card and Game Players Association operated by Lee was also indicted.

Lee, who is an ex-justice of the peace in northeast Phoenix, is alleged to have provided advice regarding the setup and operation of Ace High, which was run by Orlando and the unnamed defendant.

In exchange for this assistance, Lee and ICGPA allegedly received a portion of Ace High's revenue.

"Arizona statutes are clear as to when and where gambling should be allowed in our state," said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. "I will enforce the will of the people and prosecute illegal gambling wherever it occurs."

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in Maricopa County Superior Court on Sept. 7.