Six people are under investigation in connection with an alleged illegal horse race on a ranch near Tri-Cities.
The Washington State Gambling Commission released additional information about an investigation into a ranch in Burbank, an unincorporated area in Walla Walla County east of Pasco.
State and federal officials and local law enforcement agencies issued a search warrant on October 26th on the Monument Drive ranch between Highway 124 and the Ice Harbor Dam. No one was arrested at the time.
It was part of a two-year investigation into the ranch operation, according to the Gambling Commission. The investigation began with a tip from another agency in January 2019 about possible illegal horse racing and gambling there.
The investigation is being led by the Washington State Gambling Commission with the assistance of the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office, the Walla Walla Police Department and the US Department of Agriculture.
The organizers of the allegedly illegal betting ran monthly races, often advertised on social media, officials say. The majority of the animals came from Washington or Oregon, but some also came from other states.
People placed bets on the races with the organizers, and there were other bets between the participants, investigators claim.
Allegedly there were also raffles with big prizes like money, horses and cars.
An undercover agent attended the events and gathered information for a search warrant.
The commission has not released the names of the suspects or the ranch until Walla Walla County attorneys decide whether charges will be brought.
A sheriff’s assistant previously told the Tri-City Herald that the ranch is on Monument Drive in the rural Burbank area between Highway 124 and the Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River.
The only legal live racing circuit in the Tri-Cities area is the Sun Downs course at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick.
There was also horse racing on a circuit at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds in Walla Walla.