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Gambling ring suspect Kowalski waives counts

Michael DiVittorio
| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 4:26 a.m.

One of 16 people indicted for partaking in an alleged Mon Valley gambling ring has waived his case to court.

Eugene “Red” Kowalski, 65, of North Huntingdon Township appeared before Forest Hills Magisterial District Judge Thomas Caulfield Wednesday on charges of dealing in proceeds of illegal activity, corrupt organizations, gambling devices and conspiracy. His formal arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 21 at 11 a.m.

Charges stem from his alleged involvement in an illegal gambling ring said to be headed by Ronald “Porky” Melocchi Sr., owner of Glassport-based Back Alley Vending.

The investigation by the Attorney General's Organized Crime Section and state police centered around Melocchi from October 2012 through Dec. 10, 2012, in what was called Operation Pork Chop.

Melocchi is accused of installing, servicing and maintaining gambling devices in bars, restaurants and other locations.

The criminal complaint alleges that Kowalski collected from the places where Melocchi's company's machines were located.

Collectors check a machine's meter to see how much had been paid out in winnings and determine the profit and the split.

All 16 suspects were formally arraigned in Caulfield's chambers on Sept. 4. They were released on nonmonetary bond on condition that they be fingerprinted at Pittsburgh Municipal Court on Oct. 2.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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