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Published: Monday, 8/30/2004

2 held over betting, bar in trailer at Allen Co. fair

LIMA, Ohio Sheriff s officials impounded a trailer last week from the alcohol-free Allen County Fair, saying it had a bar and gambling operation inside.

Police obtained a search warrant after undercover officers bought two cans of beer and gambled in the trailer, according to a sheriff s report. One of the officers won $6.75 after putting 50 cents in a slot machine, the report said.

Felony gambling charges are pending against Mark Kelly, 41, of Canton, and James Al-banese, 55, of Canal Winchester. Both pleaded innocent Friday in Lima Municipal Court to charges of illegal alcohol sales.

Police impounded $1,600 in quarters and the entire trailer, which was decorated with sports paraphernalia, for evidence.

Sheriff Dan Beck said on Friday that his office knew about the bar last year, but the trailer left the grounds before they could investigate.

Allen County Fair Manager Jay Begg said the trailer was situated away from the fairgrounds but said fair managers support the sheriff s investigation.

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