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Pay lake owner answers charges

A man accused of running a gambling operation at his pay fishing lake in Chesapeake was arraigned Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Tracy L. Ellis, 54, of 1830 County Road 52, Chesapeake, pleaded not guilty to two first-degree counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, 12 counts of third-degree money laundering, four counts of fifth-degree possession of criminal tools, three counts of misdemeanor gambling and three counts of misdemeanor operating a gambling house.

The business, Sky Lake Inc., was separately indicted on identical charges and was also arraigned.

Loretta L. Akers, 56, of 1441 County Road 32, Chesapeake, office manager of the business, was also arraigned and pleaded not guilty to two first-degree counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, 10 counts of third-degree money laundering, four misdemeanor counts of gambling and a fifth-degree count of possession of criminal tools.

Judge D. Scott Bowling set bond for each defendant at $20,000 cash or surety plus $20,000 own-recognizance plus GPS monitoring. Pretrials were set for May 18.

The pay lake was raided by county and state law enforcement in July 2014 following an investigation into illegal gambling. During the raid, nearly two dozen gambling machines were confiscated, as well as more than $68,000 in cash that is alleged to be “contraband and/or property derived from or through the commission or facilitation” of the crimes. Bank records were also seized.

In other cases:

• Bill Smith, 57, of 1808 1/2 S. Third St., Ironton, pleaded guilty to five fourth-degree counts of trafficking in drugs. Bowling sentenced the man to three years in prison with a possible judicial release to STAR, and a six-month driver’s license suspension.

• Tony Puckett II, 22, of 712 1/2 Vernon St. Rear Apt. 8, Ironton, pleaded guilty to one fourth- and two fifth-degree counts of trafficking in drugs. Bowling sentenced him to three years in prison with a possible judicial release to STAR, a six-month driver’s license suspension and 200 hours community service.

• Jason Preston, 40, of South Point, was arraigned on charges of fourth-degree domestic violence and misdemeanor resisting arrest, to which he pleaded not guilty. Bowling set bond at $10,000 cash or surety plus $10,000 OR and GPS monitoring. A pretrial was set for May 18. He was ordered to stay away from the victim in the case.

• Justin Moore, 26, of 703B S. Ninth St., Ironton, pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree count of trafficking in drugs. Bowling set sentencing for May 4.

• Jeanette Crissinger, 28, of 114 Jefferson St., Coal Grove, was arraigned on a bill of information of fifth-degree possession of drugs and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, to which she pleaded not guilty. Bowling set bond at $5,000 cash or surety and $10,000 OR plus GPS. A pretrial was set for May 18.

• Shane Yates, 28, of 409 Center St., Ironton, was arraigned on a fifth-degree count of trafficking in drugs, to which he pleaded not guilty. Bowling set bond at $10,000 OR plus GPS and a pretrial was set for May 4.

• Steven Horsley, 35, of 4114 Skidmore St., Ashland, pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree count of forgery. Sentencing was set for May 4.

• James Bowling, 58, of 210 Hi-Line Drive, Ashland, was arraigned on counts of third-degree making terroristic threats and misdemeanor aggravated menacing. The man pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. Judge Charles Cooper set bond at $100,000 cash or surety and ordered a competency evaluation.

• Matthew Lindsey, 25, of 245 Township Road 1057, Proctorville, was arraigned on a second-degree count of burglary, to which he pleaded not guilty. Cooper set bond at $75,000 cash or surety plus OR and set a pretrial for May 4.

• Matthew Collins, 20, of 1124 N. Third St., Apt. C, Ironton, pleaded guilty to a third-degree count of trafficking in drugs. Cooper ordered a presentence investigation and set sentencing for May 4.