Mega Byte internet cafe closed down for illegal gambling operation in Glendale

Posted at 11:39 AM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-25 19:06:25-04

The Arizona Department of Gaming says the internet cafe Mega Byte has been closed in Glendale, and several people associated with the business have been arrested for running an illegal gambling ring.

The department says customers at the cafe near 59th and Missouri avenues were allowed to pay cash at the cafe and were then set up to play casino style games at different computer terminals.

Glendale police were involved in the investigation as well, which took several months to unfold. Undercover officers were also involved in the case.

Police and members of the Arizona Department of Gaming served a search warrant at the cafe on August 24.

Bethany Ann Graham, 26, was arrested on multiple charges after officers identified her as working in the back of the facility. Police say Graham handled cash transactions from customers in exchange for customers gaining access to the gambling sites on the computers.

Graham was in business with Jeremy Ramon Muniz, 29, who worked the front lobby of the business where he says he acted as security and documented anyone who entered and exited.

Graham and Muniz reportedly lived together. Their charges include operating an illegal gaming facility, promotion of illegal gambling and racketeering, possession of a gambling device, and possession of gambling records.

Muniz contacted ABC15 to say he was not a security guard at the business, rather he worked as a front door attendant. He said he and Graham were "just petty employees" and "all we did was work there." 

Investigators say operations like this often operate as a cash business in the middle of neighborhoods and can easily attract violence to the area.

The Department of Gaming says in partnership with local police departments, dozens of illegal gambling operations have been shut down this year.