By danny restivo
Two women appeared in municipal court here Tuesday for gambling charges that stemmed from a police raid at an Internet cafe last week.
Amber Al Mhaiat, 27, of Warren, and Patricia A. Micochero, 46, of Akron, were arraigned on charges of gambling and operating a gambling house at Belmont Sweeps, an Internet cafe in the 3000 block of Belmont Avenue.
Micochero and Al Mhaiat are scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial hearing April 17. If convicted, the women could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
They were released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
On Friday, police raided Belmont Sweeps and arrested Al Mhaiat and Micochero, who were working as employees.
According to reports, police confiscated 32 electronic slot machines, about $2,700 in cash, two handguns and a knife.
Chief Richard Tisone said a summons to appear in court was sent to Belmont Sweeps owner Adam Syed, 30, of Fairlawn, an Akron suburb. Tisone said police have made many phone calls to Syed and have not received a response.
According to township zoning records, Syed is the owner of AMF Entertainment in Akron. Police said Syed has four other establishments in Northeast Ohio.
Tisone said the police raided the Internet cafe after a two-week investigation yielded sufficient evidence of gambling. He said an informant notified police of the activity, which prompted the investigation.
He did not comment on investigations into other Internet cafes in the area, but he did say there are four similar operations in the township.
Tisone said the machines that were confiscated were not connected to the Internet and were not monitored by any gaming commission.
“People put money in and received money out,” Tisone said. “According to the law, gambling is committed when it’s a game of chance and not skill.”
Tisone said police spoke with the Trumbull County prosecutor’s office before the raid on what constituted illegal gambling.