Coaches arrested over gambling on peewee football


Authorities say a Broward barber shop was a front for a gambing operation that set point spreads and took wagers on peewee football.

Like any other bookmaking joint, the storefront had backroom wagering windows, published point spreads and catered to gamblers flashing wads of bills. But this was Lauderhill, not Las Vegas. And the money was riding on kids not yet old enough to shave.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office raided the Red Carpet Kutz barber shop this week and charged the proprietor, Brandon D. Bivins, 36, with felony bookmaking and operating a gambling house.

Bivins is the president and coach of the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes, part of the South Florida Youth Football League.

Also arrested: several fellow coaches and team officials from the league. It was the culmination of an 18-month investigation dubbed Operation Dirty Play.

According to arrest affidavits, Bivins’ barber shop on Northwest 38th Avenue and his separate sports apparel store, Showtime Sports and Apparel on Northwest 34th Terrace in Lauderdale Lakes, served as fronts for the bookmaking operation, which also took in bets on the NFL, major league baseball and other big-time sporting events.

But it is the gambling on very young kids, first reported in an ESPN “Outside the Lines” investigation aired in May 2011, that is raising eyebrows.

The South Florida Football League has various levels of competition for players, ranging from as big as 155 pounds to as little as 75.

Although relatively new, the league serves about 6,000 kids spread among 22 clubs covering three counties.

Players who have moved on from the league to success at the next level include Stacy Coley, the star receiver at Oakland Park Northeast High School who is considered the ninth best player in the country at his position by; and Chris Lammons, Plantation High’s starting quarterback.

For a man overseeing a football club for children, Bivins had an unusual resume. His lengthy criminal record includes arrests for possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, aggravated battery, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of stolen property.

Some of his fellow coaches also have criminal records, according to BSO, which conducted the investigation in conjunction with the Lauderhill and Fort Lauderdale police departments, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshall’s service.

The ESPN documentary highlighted several coaches and football league officials actively placing wagers on peewee football games in Broward County, specifically in Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

Soon after it aired, BSO’s money-laundering task force launched its investigation, using information received from a confidential informant who led them to Bivins, considered the mastermind. Bivins and other associates would network via their cell phones to arrange and place bets on games, the affidavits said.

Bivins’ associates owned the businesses, but it was Bivins, authorities said, who ran the illicit activities from a secret room in the rear of the barber shop.

To the uninitiated, the entrance looked like an ordinary closet door. But behind the door was a hallway that led to a room with vertically fixed, dark-tinted windows. The windows were gambling stations and it was here that the coaches ran the elaborate betting operation, according to the BSO.

Another informant tipped investigators to the existence of Showtime, which appeared on the surface to be an ordinary athletic apparel store. But investigators found that customers actually came to the store to bet.

To bolster their case, authorities maintained a lengthy surveillance of the two businesses, supported by paperwork sifted from Bivins’ trash. On Aug. 22, a “trash pull” conducted at his Delray Beach home uncovered betting receipts titled “West Palm Beach Fantasy League,’’ along with wager ID numbers, wager dates, bet amounts, win payouts, game selections and picks placed. The receipts were computer-generated from the barbershop, authorities said.

Investigators picked through Bivins’ trash several more times, finding more incriminating documents.

In addition to Bivins, who was being held on $50,000 bond, those under arrest include Darron Lashawn Bostic, coach of the Deerfield Beach Packer-Tattlers; Darren Jerome Brown, coach/affiliate of the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes; Brandon Marlon Lewis, affiliate of the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes; Brad Donte Parker, affiliate, Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes; La Taurus Tamayne Fort, coach of the Northwest Broward Raiders; Dave Constantine Small, coach of the Lauderdale Lions; Willie Tindal, coach of the Northwest Broward Raiders and Vincent Gemard Gray, coach of the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes.

A coach with the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes who was not arrested said it is “business as usual” with the league despite Tuesday’s busts.

“We got a playoff game to play,” said the coach, known as Twan. “That’s all we’re focused on.”

Read more Top Stories stories from the Miami Herald

An second floor view of the east half of FIU Arena court Monday afternoon. Some of the dents appear as small scratches from above.

    Fitness event damages FIU basketball court

    A weekend CrossFit competition broke the beach-themed FIU Arena court that FIU volleyball, women’s basketball and men’s basketball teams call home.

  • Florida Keys

    Scientists probe secrets of Dry Tortugas

    Scientists embark on NOAA research cruise to Dry Tortugas in Florida Keys

FILE--Nubia Barahona, 10, was found dead in the back of her adoptive father's pick-up truck in West Palm Beach on Valentines Day 2011

    Child Welfare

    Nubia Barahona’s adoptive sister sues DCF

    The adoptive sister of Nubia Barahona, the child whose gruesome death while under the care of her adoptive father and mother shook Florida a few years ago, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Florida Department of Children & Families, a child welfare worker, and two former DCF investigators.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category