Major US Illegal Gambling Crackdown Continues Nationwide

  • A California SWAT team helped bust an illegal gambling operation in the state
  • NY law enforcement arrested 17 people over alleged illegal gambling operations
  • Some of those detained have significant mob links, potentially also involved in match-fixing
law enforcement special forces in action
Illegal gambling busts carried out in New York and California over the last few days included 17 arrests made on Staten Island. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Busy week for police

There were major busts of illegal gambling operations made over the past week in New York and California. The raids in both states were carried out as part of an extensive campaign across the country to curtail unlawful gambling activity. 

California crackdown

In California, law enforcement officers busted an alleged illegal gambling operation in the San Fernando Valley and had to call in a local SWAT team to assist.

The operation took place on Wednesday night, with police using a battering ram to gain entry into the building. A news helicopter circulating above the establishment captured footage of the operation.

While up to a dozen people found on the premises were detained initially, only one of them was arrested. There has yet to be a publication of a report detailing what the charges may be related to. 

A number of other busts have occurred in the wider California area over the course of the past few months. Many of these cases also involved illegally held weapons and drugs. In one such instance, a pastor was arrested for allegedly operating an illegal gambling facility in Stockton, California.

New York bust

In New York, local police were working with federal agents to shut down a significant gambling operation with mob links. There were 17 arrests made on Staten Island last week relating to alleged participation in illegal gambling, among other charges. A couple of those taken into custody are said to have connections with a local crime family. 

17 arrests made on Staten Island last week relating to alleged participation in illegal gambling

The raid came after a three-year investigation into the operation. The probe began in November 2017, following a bizarre event which involved one of the men arrested last week. At the time, he had placed a GPS device on a bus to track the movements of his then girlfriend. When the device was discovered by the authorities, it set off the investigation. 

Potential match-fixing

Allegations of racketeering have been levied against some of those arrested in Staten Island. This occurred after authorities overheard a conversation between two men involved in the investigation, during which they spoke about potentially fixing an NCAA basketball game. The authorities did not publicize the specifics of what game it was and which colleges were involved.

One of the men allegedly said he could try “offering to pay thousands of dollars to multiple members of a basketball team so that they would intentionally lose by a lot.”

Not long before the game in question was to take place, a text was sent by one of the men telling an acquaintance to not bet on the game. It said, “Ok I wouldn’t trust the game I was telling u about” and “I’m not touching it personally”.