Feds won't halt Country Crossing raid

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP/WSFA) - An emergency request to impose a restraining order on Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling has failed on a federal level.

Country Crossing immediately sought a restraining order in federal court, but a judge denied that request.

The decision upholds the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling earlier in the day that paved the way for the governor's task force to raid the electronic bingo operation in Dothan at any time.

Today, Friday, is Country Crossing's grand opening.

The Alabama Supreme Court dismissed, by unanimous decision, a judge's order blocking the governor's task force from raiding Country Crossing and seizing bingo machines.

The Supreme Court agreed with the task force's contention that the Houston County Commission and a local economic development authority did not have standing to seek a court order blocking the raid.

"This decision is a major victory for the rule of law in Alabama. The Supreme Court's order makes clear that gambling bosses around the State will not be able to prevent the State's anti-gambling laws from being enforced," said Governor Bob Riley. "We were confident that the Supreme Court would not allow this unprecedented order disrupting law enforcement activities to stand.  It shows that the law will prevail over money and political influence."

The court did not address the task force's request to be given more time to conduct the raid since the original 10-day limit on the search warrant expired.

This means the task force will have to get a judge to issue a new search warrant.

Riley's office says it will "...move forward in seizing these illegal slot machines," but while no specific date was released by the governor's office, Riley said, "The operators of all illegal casinos in this State should not sleep well tonight, tomorrow night, or any night in the future."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)