'Pea Shake' Charges Dropped Over Warrant Errors

Prosecution Of Dozens Abandoned

Charges against dozens accused of involvement in "pea shake" gambling in Indianapolis have been dropped because of errors in the warrants used to arrest them last year, the Marion County prosecutor's office said.

The suspects were arrested during several police raids on what authorities said were illegal gambling operations in 2007. Since then, more than one judge has ruled the warrants that police used to enter buildings, gather evidence and make arrests had technical flaws, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

Details about those flaws weren't available. The prosecutor's office didn't say exactly how many people had charges dismissed, but it said the number could be more than 50.

Despite the dropped charges, the raids succeeded in closing the operations, and police officers will try to ensure they remain closed, said Indianapolis Deputy Police Chief John Conley.

"Any attempts by those people ... to reopen and go back to doing what they were doing before, they're going to find themselves in jail again," Conley said.

People who lived near the homes that were alleged to have hosted some of the gambling operations had complained that they drew gun and drug crimes to the area.

One such house was at 34th Street and Central Avenue. After police said they closed a gambling operation there, investors purchased and began renovating a nearby apartment building.

Al Polin, of the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood association, said the renovation was a positive development made possible in part by the gambling crackdown.

"I'm all for this apartment complex. I'm all for people working together. I'm all for people doing what's right," Polin said. "Pea shake is not right -- it's illegal -- and it shouldn't be operational."