First On WSFA 12 News: Judge halts raid on Country Crossing

Dothan, Ala. (WSFA) -- A last minute restraining order stops Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling from raiding Country Crossing.

Late Tuesday evening, reports swirled of an assembled platoon of State Troopers, Alabama Bureau of Investigation and Alabama Beverage Control agents standing by for orders to seize the center's gaming machines.

News of the planned raid prompted Country Crossing to shut down just after midnight Wednesday morning, and its 1,300 employees sent home.  At last check the venue remains closed.

That's when Houston County Commissioner Mark Culver delivered a pre-emptive strike and filed for a restraining order.

"Upon hearing of the raid, we filed a declaratory judgement in the Circuit Court of Houston County asking for a temporary restraining order and that Wednesday's raid be halted, " claimed Culver.

In the early Wednesday morning hours, a judge signed that request.  The order then delivered to the head of the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling, David Barber.

A hearing is now set for January 20th to determine what's next for Country Crossing and its gaming machines.

Houston County and Country Crossing officials maintain their electronic bingo machines are legal and chalk up the planned raid to politics.

"This is not about being legal, it's not about being illegal, it's political.  This is what people pick on the state of Alabama about, " said Country Crossing Spokesman Jay Walker.

Country Crossing officials say the entertainment center will re-open, but they can't say exactly when.

Folks there say it will take some time to get everything powered back up, and get in touch with its employees to come back to work.

WSFA 12 News contacted Governor Riley's Press Office Wednesday morning, he has yet to comment on the situation.

Stay tuned to WSFA 12 News and for the very latest developments.