An 8-line metro staff member imprisoned; another wanted

One man has been arrested and another remains at large in connection with a maquinita establishment operating underground, according to Laredo police.

Jairo Alexis Morales, 27, was served with an arrest warrant on April 19 accusing him of running a gambling venue and promoting gambling. He was later released on bail, according to prison records from the Webb County.

A second suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Miguel Angel Matias-Alberto. He is wanted as part of the illegal gambling investigation. To report his whereabouts, call Laredo Crime Stoppers at 727-TIPS (8477) or download the Crime Stoppers P3 app to be eligible to receive a cash reward.

In December, police received information about an unregistered eight-line business located inside the SureStay hotel at 4820 San Bernardo Ave. A city zoning enforcement supervisor would confirm that the eight-line establishment was operating without any permits, according to police.

On January 10, the LPD’s Narcotics and Vice Unit conducted an undercover operation around 9 p.m. at the SureStay Hotel. An undercover agent inserted $5 into a slot machine identified as Life of Luxury. He was able to earn $15. He was paid three $5 bills when cashed, police said.

“While inside the establishment, the (undercover officer) observed other patrons playing eight-line slot machines. The undercover officer also noticed that music was playing in the background and free alcoholic beverages were available for customers as well as free food.At no time during the operation did the undercover officer observe any customers walking out with physical prizes ,” the affidavit reads.

The Narcotics and Vice Unit, with assistance from the Patrol Division and the Webb County District Attorney’s Office, executed a search warrant at the SureStay Hotel. Authorities seized $10,082, 17 slot machines, various withdrawal documents and records, two cell phones and a black DVR.

Two employees have been identified as Morales and Matias-Alberto. They were taken to LPD headquarters for interviews. Morales said he had worked at the SureStay hotel for about a month and a half. He said he didn’t know who the owner was. He adds that he was hired as an attendant, courier in charge of taking care of the customers of the establishment. He was paid $8.50. Morales said he would pay himself on a weekly basis, according to court documents.

“Morales was asked to explain the day-to-day operations of the amusement center, and he stated that he and Miguel (Matias-Alberto) were both employees left in charge of all operations,” the affidavit reads.