Four Arrests in Illegal California Gambling Operation Raid, Firearms Seized

  • Law enforcement in California raided an illegal gambling operation in South Bakersfield
  • Six illegal gambling devices and a fish table were discovered alongside four illegal firearms and 3,000 rounds of ammunition
  • This is one of a number of recent crackdowns on illegal gambling operations in the Californian state
an individual being handcuffed by a police officer
An illegal gambling operation in California has been shut down by local law enforcement, with four arrests made and four illegal firearms seized. [Image: Shutterstock]

Shutdown of illegal gambling operation

A raid in Kern County has exposed an illegal operation in South Bakersfield, with the discovery of a gambling parlor housing a fish table for eight people and six computer devices for illegal gambling purposes. Police also found four illegal firearms and 3,000 rounds of ammunition. Two of these weapons had been previously reported to the police as being stolen.

This is the latest case in a series of recent crackdowns on illegal gambling operations across California. In April, there were a number of raids from law enforcement that led to over 100 arrests, the shutting down of a number of underground operations, and the seizing of illegal gaming machines. In June, a California man got a 22-month prison sentence for helping to launder money from a gambling ring in Northern California.

Raid leads to four arrests

Four people were arrested in the South Bakersfield raid, including the facility’s operators Jeffrey and James Helm. James Helm was charged with operating an illegal gambling operation and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Jeffrey Helm is now facing charges of operating an illegal gambling casino, receiving stolen property, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition, and conspiracy to commit a crime. No details have been given as to what the relation between the two Helms may be.

The two other people arrested as part of this raid are Maryanne Yeakley and Angelica Crotwell. They both had outstanding warrants but were not arrested for anything specific to this investigation.

The County Sheriffs Office in Kern issued a statement in relation to the case:

The execution of the search warrant was the culmination of a week-long investigation by Metro Patrol deputies into the gambling activities at the location.

Efforts to regularise gambling prove futile

While there are a number of tribes running significant gambling operations in California, online gambling remains illegal. Since 2018, a total of 16 attempts to push through poker legalization legislation have proved unsuccessful, despite its great popularity throughout the state. Recent efforts to try and bring in legal sports betting have also experienced similar stumbling blocks.