Jul. 23—Six people are facing gambling charges after police discovered operational gambling machines and games at two properties near the corner of West Main Street and 24th Avenue Southwest this month.
Three people were each charged Monday with a misdemeanor count of common gambling: Qiu Lin Zou, aka Quinlin Zou, 47; Rijin Zheng, 23, of Norman; and Zailin Jin, 21, of Flushing, New York.
Four people were each charged with a felony count of conducting a gambling game: Qui Zou (charged Wednesday) and Norman residents Zhuang Xing Zheng, 34, Silon Wang, 21, and Cong Li, 24, who were charged Monday.
According to a court affidavit, Norman police responded July 15 to the 2200 block of West Main Street in Norman to investigate a larceny report. Officers discovered two related businesses occupied by customers and employees.
On serving a search warrant, police found that one location was used to conduct percentage and gambling games; the other location was XingXing Karaoke Studio. Employees were seen moving between both locations, and officers found documents relating the properties. Officers also found operational gambling machines with money inside.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant, police were investigating the business for illegal gambling, prostitution, money laundering and illegal narcotics sale. However, only gambling charges have been currently filed.
According to the search warrant affidavit, police received the larceny report when a person reported that employees one business south of the karaoke studio took their cell phone and wouldn't return it. The reporting party led officers to the storefront, and officers saw a wall separating the storefront from the front door that had a door open in the middle.
Officers saw several gambling tables through the open door, and while employees tried to shut the door, officers had all employees leave the building.
According to the search warrant affidavit, officers discovered that the same employees also owned the karaoke studio, so they searched the premises. They found large televisions, couches, large quantities of alcohol and women's lingerie, clothing and hygiene products. The employees spoke little English, and investigators on scene observed rooms consistent with a large prostitution ring.
According to the document, officers had received multiple complaints about the storefronts over the last couple of months regarding suspicious activity between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. Over the last few weeks, officers have also conducted traffic stops of vehicles leaving the businesses, often finding over $10,000 inside the vehicles.
According to the report, a K-9 officer came on scene and alerted to the odor of illegal narcotics on four employees' vehicles. Officers seized documents of transaction receipts, U.S. currency, a security system DVR, a metal vial and three pouches containing a white powdery substance, notebooks and ledgers, gambling machines and television sets.
Qiu Zou, Rijin Zheng and Jin are set to appear on their misdemeanor charges at 9 a.m. Aug. 24 before Special Judge Scott Brockman.
Zheng, Wang and Li are set for a preliminary hearing conference at 9 a.m. Aug. 17 before Brockman.
Qiu Zou has no court dates posted yet on the felony count.
Jamie Berry covers police and court news for The Transcript. Reach her at email@example.com, 366-3532 or @JamieStitches13.