Residents of San Jose are to thank for a successful law enforcement bust of seven illegal underground casinos in the city.
Serious criminal activity and illicit casinos often go hand-in-hand, and the April 20 operation that dismantled the underground casinos was no exception. The unlawful casinos “served as a conduit for illegal activities, which included gambling, sale and use of narcotics, in addition to the purchase and sale of stolen property,” according to police.
After community members complained, detectives organized a raid to take down a criminal organization led by a 43-year-old city resident. Arrestees in the operation face various felony charges. Police didn’t specify the exact number of people arrested in the operation.
The large-scale sting included several agencies. It yielded over $285,000, dozens of illegal gambling machines, 11 firearms, over eight pounds of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine, 500 MDMA pills, and over 2,000 pieces of stolen mail,” according to the San Jose Police Department.
The coordinated effort included help from the U.S. Postal Inspectors and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
California illegal gambling: A statewide problem
Illegal California casinos and gambling parlors thrive around the Golden State. They are often found in the backrooms of legitimate businesses like mom-and-pop retail stores, smoke shops, and warehouses.
Some are also found in private homes and clubs. Criminal activity at the prohibited gambling dens sometimes involves homicide as well. Several illegal gambling busts in the state over the past few years have related murder cases.
Earlier this month, the Pomona Police Department led a multi-agency raid of six illegal gambling operations that netted money, narcotics, and 55 gambling machines. The operation led to the arrests of nine people.
In February, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported on the sentencing of the ringleader of an operation in San Diego that included 36 illegal gambling locations, 287 gambling machines, firearms, and large quantities of narcotics.
Photo credit: San Jose Police Department.