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NORTH SALT LAKE — The owner of a North Salt Lake gas station has been charged with operating gambling machines in her business.
Riya Patel Rodriguez, 35, of Centerville, was charged Thursday in 2nd District Court with money laundering, a second-degree felony, and two counts of having a fringe gaming device, one third-degree felony and one class A misdemeanor.
Police say Rodriguez owns and manages Ajay's, 3427 S. Orchard Drive. In September, an undercover investigator went to the gas station and played one of the gaming devices at the business. The detective paid $10 for "credits." When he was done playing, he took a receipt to the store clerk showing he had won additional credits, and was paid $25, according to charging documents.
In October, the investigator returned and again made money from the credits he won, the charges state.
The detective and other agents returned on Jan. 31, this time with a search warrant for the business. Gaming devices, cash kept under the counter for payouts, and "prizes" for people who won more than $100 were seized, according to the charges.
Rodriguez told police that the machines were maintained by a man who would occasionally come to the gas station "to service the machines and split the proceeds."