Six people received prayers for judgment after entering guilty pleas on charges involving slot machines in Havelock.
The pleas came Friday in Craven County District Court with Judge David McFadden presiding.
The pleas mean that as long as the defendants don’t violate any laws within the next year, the convictions would be cleared from their records.
Benjamin Garth Edwards, of Greenville, pleaded guilty to one count of electronic sweepstakes violation and received a prayer for judgment continued. Assistant district attorney Robert McAfee dismissed 21 counts of operating/possessing slot machines and one count of an electronic sweepstakes violation. Edwards is the owner of Ben’s Beach Bingo off East Main Street near Shepard Street.
Miteshkumar Vinodbhai Mistry, of Havelock, pleaded guilty to one count of operating/possessing a slot machine and received a prayer for judgment continued. Mistry is the owner of U.S. Mini Mart at 221 East Main St.
Gajendrabhai Patel, of Havelock, pleaded guilty to one count of operating /possessing a slot machine and received a prayer for judgment continued. Patel is the owner of Food Fare at 227 West Main St.
Gloria Bergman, of Havelock, pleaded guilty to one count of operating/possessing a slot machine and received a prayer for judgment continued. Bergman is the owner of Jean’s Place, a private tavern at 330 East Main St.
William Rhodes pleaded guilty to manufacture/sale of slot machines and received a prayer for judgment continued. Rhodes rented or leased machines to Friends Billiards and Pub at 571 U.S.70 West in Havelock.
John Mariani, of Havelock, pleaded guilty to one count of operating/possessing a slot machine and received a prayer for judgment continued.
All of the defendants were charged in connection with an Oct. 17, 2013, raid on Havelock businesses allegedly operating Internet gaming machines in violation of state laws. Havelock police executed search warrants on the businesses seizing more than 300 items of evidence, including 16 gaming machines.
Greg Muse, of New Bern, owner of Craven Music Company, was alleged by the state to have provided the machines to the businesses. Muse was found not guilty on 15 charges of manufacturing and selling slot machines and one count of possessing a slot machine last week in Craven County District Court.
One defendant in the case still remains to have his day in court. Ninad Narendrakumar Patel is charged with operating or possessing a slot machine at Super Expressway, at 807 East Main St. Patel is the owner.
The Craven County District Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment.
The District Attorney’s Office has reportedly filed a motion to have the machines involved in the case destroyed.
The charges against the defendants sparked controversy because the defendants indicated that they believed they were operating the machines within the law. All of the defendants had paid $500 per machine privilege licenses from the city of Havelock to operate. In some cases, law enforcement served warrants and brought charges within days of the issuance of the privilege licenses.