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New Marion County ordinance leads to arrest of two workers at internet cafe

Blackjack Arcade on U.S. 301 south of Belleview. Photo: Joe Byrnes
Blackjack Arcade on U.S. 301 south of Belleview. Photo: Joe Byrnes

Last week the Marion County Commission outlawed the fish tables and slot machines used by internet cafes.

Now sheriff's deputies have started to enforce the ban by arresting game room workers.

The Sheriff Office had championed the ordinance, on the grounds that internet cafes attract violent crime. 

The agency promised to inform the 39 local game rooms outside city limits. And so on Thursday, a deputy notified the Blackjack Arcade near Belleview.

On Monday, two corporals returned in plain clothes and tested the machines. Then two employees were arrested.

Jessica Bermudez, 38, of Silver Springs Shores, and Rimon Joudi, 45, of Belleview, were booked on 86 counts -- one for every slot machine and every station around a fish table.

All those charges added up to a bail amount of $43,000, and both were still in jail Tuesday afternoon.


Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.