Seniors arrested during raid at Asbury Park home for illegal gambling; owner says they were 'just playing cards'

Authorities conducting a raid on an Asbury Park home in search of people with outstanding warrants stumbled on an alleged illegal gambling operation frequented by elderly players. (5/8/14)

ASBURY PARK - Authorities conducting a raid on an Asbury Park home in search of people with outstanding warrants stumbled on an alleged illegal gambling operation frequented by elderly players.

The owner of the Bangs Avenue home, 80-year-old Joseph Robinson, says he's nothing more than a good host. He says he offers drinks to seniors in the neighborhood who want to watch sports in his upstairs apartment and pass the time.

"Just playing cards," Robinson says. "They were looking for drugs and I don't dance with no drugs upstairs."

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Three men were arrested on drug charges when the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office Tactical Narcotics Team stormed the house Wednesday evening. 

Robinson says Robert Pugh, 43, who was the intended target of the raid, is a tenant downstairs. But authorities tell News 12 New Jersey Robinson was also arrested and charged with operating an illegal gambling establishment.

About one dozen people allegedly gambling inside were handcuffed, including some elderly men.  An 88-year-old man was among them, but he insists they were just playing cards.

The prosecutor's office says the raid was part of "crime suppression operations" following recent shootings and violence in Asbury Park. It was aimed at creating police presence in the area with high visibility to build on community relationships.

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