|Posted by Anne Siren on November 2, 2012 at 3:15 PM|
Deerfield Beach – The Packer-Rattler youth football teams came under surveillance from three police agencies after ESPN aired a segment in May 2011 that showed adults openly betting on who would win the game.
Darron Bostic, coach of the 120-pound squad, became a suspect when he helped an undercover agent place a wager on the game between the Packers and Lauderdale Lakes. The bet was $300; the spread, six points. The pay-off when the Packers won 37-14, $600. That was on Oct. 14, 2011.
The next day, Bostic facilitated a $100 bet made on the game between the Packers’ 135-pound team and Lauderdale Lakes. Two days later he was observed here at Westside Park, the Packer Rattlers home field, paying the gambling debt to a confidential informant.
Bostic, 29, of 401 NE 3 Ave., and eight other coaches in the South Florida Youth Football League were arrested this week on felony bookmaking charges. The warrants also describe bets placed on games played by the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes, the NW Broward Raiders, and the Lauderhill Lions. Bostic has no criminal record and did not coach a local team this year.
The arrests Tuesday culminate an 18-month undercover operation that began when Deerfield Beach Police Chief Pete Sudler asked for BSO help in investigating the information in the ESPN piece that named the Packer-Rattlers.
Of the nine arrested, six have extensive criminal histories, including the president of the Hurricanes, Brandon Bivins who set up a full-scale gambling operation in Lauderhill in the backroom of what appeared to be a barber shop. There, bets were placed on game outcomes from the pros to college ball to youth leagues.
The amounts bet were substantial. Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said for the league’s Superbowl game $100,000 was wagered. When agents raided Bivins’ shop – Red Carpet Kutz in Lauderhill, $37,000 was recovered. Another $27,000 and firearms were found in his Fort Lauderdale home.
Tuesday, the sheriff chose a recreation building at Westside Park to hold his press conference announcing the arrests made in the operation code named Dirty Play. “This community took a bad situation and went into action,” Lamberti said.
He urged anyone who sees abnormal activity at a youth league game to call a newly - established hot line, 954-888-5259, and report their suspicions.
About the same time, Chief Sudler became concerned, city commissioners took steps to require Level 2 background checks for anyone coaching youngsters in this city. The Level 2 check involves a national search of police records, rather than the state search which had been used previously.
Lamberti said it is his hope that all cities in Broward would require the more extensive investigation of volunteers who work with children.
The original ESPN report told of kids being paid for touchdowns scored, but BSO Lt. Frank Ballante said the department found no evidence of that or of manipulation by coaches to produce an outcome in a game. But he added, “It could have happened.”
Bivins is a resident of Fort Lauderdale as is Darren Brown, Brad Parker, and Willie Tindal, other coaches arrested in Dirty Play. Also taken into custody were Brandon Lewis and Le Taurus Tarmayhne Fort of Pompano Beach; Dave Small, Lauderhill and Vincent Gray, Lauderdale Lakes.