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Illegal gambling operation discovered at New Cassel grocery store, police say

From left, Aurel Bonhomme, 70, of Wyandanch, and

From left, Aurel Bonhomme, 70, of Wyandanch, and Jean Celestin, 51, of North Babylon, were arrested Friday, July 10, 2015 after Nassau County police said they searched a New Cassel grocery store and found signs of illegal gambling. Credit: NCPD

A search warrant and investigation into an illegal gambling operation at a New Cassel grocery store turned up $30,000 in cash and 50 cases of untaxed Haitian rum, Nassau police said Tuesday.

Police said members of the Narcotics/Vice Squad executed a search warrant at Rose Grocery, at 1019 Prospect Ave., on Friday as part of an investigation into illegal gambling there. Police said that between March 2014 and June 2015, illegal bets were placed on nine occasions with the grocery store owner, Jean Celestin.

During the search of the grocery store, Celestin, 51, of North Babylon and Aurel Bonhomme, 70, of Wyandanch were arrested. Along with $30,000 in cash and the rum, police said they also found electronic equipment. The investigation is continuing.

Celestin, of 128 Erlanger Blvd., was charged with second-degree possession of gambling records, second-degree promoting gambling and other charges related to alcohol and tobacco control laws, police said. Bonhomme was charged with sixth-degree conspiracy. Both were arraigned on Saturday at First District Court in Hempstead and released without bail, court records show. Both are due back in court on Aug. 6.

When reached by phone at the grocery store, Celestin declined to comment.

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