Two employees at the Joy Food Market, 1005 49th Street S., have been offering patrons Vegas-style cash gambling machines and one has been involved with heroin according to Gulfport police who participated in a search warrant with multiple law enforcement agencies on Tuesday, January 10 that resulted in two arrests and a total of seven felony charges.
Arrested were store manager Ali Jamal Sultan, 55, of St. Petersburg and employee Eric Antron McCallister, 31, of Gulfport. Both men were charged with one count each of being an “agent of (a) gambling house,” which is a third-degree felony carrying a maximum jail sentence not to exceed five years, said Gulfport Detective Sgt. Thomas Woodman, the department’s public information officer.
McCallister was also charged with five other new felonies involving possession or sale of one gram of heroin including being located within 1,000 feet of a place of worship or school, which is a first-degree felony. The bond for all six counts totals $210,000. He also violated parole for four pending felony charges relating to the possession, sale or delivery of cocaine. He is currently in the Pinellas County Jail awaiting trial.
The four new felonies relating to the sale or possession of a controlled substance near a place of worship or school can each result in a maximum of 30 years in jail.
Jail sentences can be assigned consecutively or concurrently at the discretion of a judge, said Woodman.
Sultan posted a $5,000 bond and was released from custody at 2:41 a.m. on Wednesday, January 11.
According to law enforcement reports, on Wednesday, January 10, Gulfport police executed a search warrant on the market after a joint three-month investigation involving Gulfport police, St. Petersburg police, and officials from the state-level Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along with the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.
Gulfport police arrested McCallister on the drug-related charges while state-level law enforcement officials arrested both men on the gambling charges, said Woodman.
Investigators seized the heroin and two illegal Vegas-style gambling machines where “you insert money into them and you can win money,” said Woodman.