Suspected drug dealers accused of money laundering at Ind. casino


by Renee Murphy

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 5 at 5:55 AM

ELIZABETH, Ind. (WHAS11) – Police are looking for two suspected high level drug dealers who are accused of taking millions of dollars in drug money to Horseshoe Casino and trying to cash it out as their winnings.

A new criminal complaint lays out the money laundering allegations and the elaborate plan executed.

Big bucks and an even bigger payout – it’s what authorities said Rashawn Thorn and Austin Gamez wanted people to believe.

“From September of 2013 up until July 30,  approximately $3,000,000 was money laundered through the Horseshoe Casino,” Otto Schalk, Harrison County Prosecutor, said.

Laundered doesn't mean the money was stolen from the casino, instead, authorities said it was switched out, and switched out a lot.

Court records show millions of suspected drug profits were exchanged for casino money.

“When you are talking in the millions of dollars, obviously, that is a large scale organization that is funneling this money,” Schalk said.

Thorn and Gamez are accused of taking thousands of dollars at a time, stuffing slot machines with the money and the printing out a receipt to cash in, officials said.

Both were arrested last week, but did not show for court Monday morning.

Several others are also named in the complaint.

“It's fair to say charges may be imminent,” Schalk said.

Phong Nguyen was federally indicted two weeks ago on drug charges out of Kentucky.

Neighbors said they saw federal authorities swarm his Louisville home.

“I am down here getting ready and she yells to me and I say what! Oh I never heard anything I saw it and there was a lot of ‘em,” Kevin Powell, a neighbor, said.

Nguyen isn't charged in the Horseshoe matter, but the complaint states he and Gamez run a drug trafficking organization.

A new arrest warrant has been issued for Gamez and Thorn since they didn’t show up for court.