The Alabama Attorney General's Office confirmed bingo halls in Jefferson County were raided Tuesday morning.
Cameron Mixon with the AG's office said details on the raids and locations would be released soon.
Witnesses said they saw three black SUVs and a gray Dodge Charger at the front door of one bingo hall off Pinson Valley Parkway. Others said they saw FBI agents on the scene, although the AG's office could not confirm which agencies were responding.
Late last year, Attorney General Steve Marshall told 1819 News the Supreme Court made it clear bingo halls were illegal, but locations in Jefferson County continued to operate. He also said those operations were "ground zero" for more serious crimes, including money laundering.
For years, attorneys general in Alabama have been fighting against illegal gambling. But charging those involved in illegal gaming is up to local law enforcement, and Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway has previously said he had more significant concerns to deal with. In 2019, Pettway released a statement saying it wasn't worth the time, effort and money required to confiscate machines and track down misdemeanor offenders when he had serious violent crime to address.
Jefferson County Commission president Jimmie Stephens previously voiced concerns over bingo halls in the county, saying he wanted to see them all shut down. However, he said the sheriff had shown "no willingness or desire to act on any" illegal bingo halls.
Stephens said the county will assist the AG's office with securing the buildings and with whatever they need to complete the investigation.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has not responded to a media request about the raids.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email email@example.com.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.