Falcon residents battle 8-liners
Its been several days since the Zapata County Sheriff issued a public notice asking all 8-liners in his county to stop any illegal activities.
Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez says investigations into several 8-liners will continue but tonight he decided to hold a town hall meeting to hear what residents had to say.
Residents of Zapata County have spoken out against the 8-liner establishments before and while tonight’s meeting was supposed to give them the opportunity to voice their concerns again, people from outside their town had concerns of their own.
“I’ve been playing for years and I’ve never seen any problems. That’s why I’m here, she says. I love to play the machines. That’s all.”
Maria Ramos of Roma says no one could keep her away from tonight’s town hall meeting, even if it is specifically for the people of Falcon.
“It's bringing work to this place. I don’t know why the people wouldn’t want this here," she says.
She is one of dozens sitting in what seemed like a courtroom battle.
The opposition were residents of the small town who say they are fed up with 8-liner businesses who draw in hundreds crowding their streets and according to the sheriff department, creating crime.
There are an estimated 7 machines to every resident in Falcon... equally to almost 750 total gambling machines, a number the sheriff wants to cut down on.
“I’ve heard many things, hear from them.”
As people voiced their concerns inside the community center, outside others were already proving the business owners' points.
“They tell me this is new,” she says. “We used to go to a warehouse further down the road. Now we want to come here."
Maria Guzman of Mission, Texas says she knows she'll be joining many others also looking for the casinos.
She says I know they come from all over Mexico and Guererro, Mier and Mcallen.
Meanwhile the sheriff says he doesn’t mind the establishments as long as they're following the law.
Sheriff Gonzalez says it's obvious what’s bringing people to the area ... it's money.
Falcon residents say they want growth in their community but don't want growth in crime.
8-liner business owners we spoke to say they are running legally but wouldn't allow us to take a look inside.