Search warrant served
Anaheim police detained dozens of people on Tuesday morning after raiding an illegal gambling operation running from a vacant storefront.
Officers served a search warrant at an out-of-business hydroponics store in the Californian city just before 8am. A SWAT team and firefighters were also present at the scene. Law enforcement authorities used flash bangs before entering the ‘slap house’, or illegal gambling site.
officers found large electronic table machines and video gambling devices
Police detained and questioned approximately 70 individuals who were inside the building, processing each suspect one by one. Officers found large electronic table machines and video gambling devices at the premises; they also seized a significant quantity of drugs and three firearms.
Citations and bookings
The Anaheim Police Department posted images and details of the raid on Facebook:
Of the people detained, 25 got citations before being released on-site. The citations were for a variety of reasons, including drug possession and being present at an illegal gambling operation site.
Police booked another 13 people for more serious offenses at the Anaheim City Jail, each of whom got tested for COVID-19. Offenses included the operation of an illegal gambling facility, while others concerned individuals who had outstanding warrants. There were no reports of any injuries during the course of the raid.
dens of criminal activity”
Anaheim Police Department Sergeant Shane Carringer noted that the slap house had been active for a number of months, adding that such gambling operations are “dens of criminal activity”. He spoke about how local businesses can struggle to pinpoint the source of an uptick in crime “because these locations are obviously hidden and […] often operate at different hours of the night.”
Illegal gambling in California
California has seen a number of significant crackdowns on illegal gambling operations over the past couple of years. In September 2019, police arrested a California pastor for operating an illegal gambling facility in Stockton.
Similar illegal gambling busts took place in San Fernando Valley, Bakersfield, Santa Ana, and Long Beach, with some raids leading to dozens of arrests or detainments. Large sums of cash, illegal gambling machines, and firearms were often among the items seized. A number of these operations were housed inside storefronts and strip malls.