Historic Texas Undercover Operation Seizes Hundreds of Illegal Gambling Machines, $350k in Cash and Other Items

  • The “most extensive gambling operation any of us has ever seen in a couple of decades”
  • Bexar County officers jailed eight of the 29 people detained on Wednesday for various offenses
  • Police also recovered a “16-year-old young lady” and returned her to her parents
  • Case is ongoing with Sheriff Salazar saying “we are going after an […] organized crime charge”
Facade of Bexar County Courthouse Texas
A new organized crime unit of the BCSO in San Antonio, Texas executed a historic raid on an illegal gambling den, discovering hundreds of illicit gaming machines and netting $350k in cash, cars, and property. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

New organized crime unit led bust

A plainclothes operation by a new organized crime unit of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) seized hundreds of illegal gaming machines during a gambling bust in San Antonio, Texas. The discovery also included $350,000 in cash, cars, and property, as well as seven guns and drugs.

BCSO Sheriff Javier Salazar gave an update of Wednesday night’s historic raid via Facebook Watch early on Thursday, which included footage of the seized gambling machines.


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Salazar stated that many of the veterans of his department were of the consensus that the bust revealed the “most extensive gambling operation any of us has ever seen in a couple of decades.”

The court-sanctioned bust on May 5 found nearly 100 functioning and 200 non-functional gaming machines.

Undercover agents posed as gamblers

In his later Thursday updates on the case via Facebook Live, Salazar said the BCSO detained 29 people on Wednesday night. Of that total, the sheriff’s office jailed eight for various offenses, ranging from identity theft to a violation of a protection order.

The sheriff also said the bust recovered a “16-year-old young lady.” The young female, who has since been reunited with her family, is being interviewed to find out if she was a victim of anything.

Salazar stated the building raided in the 3700 block of Blanco Road in San Antonio’s South Side has been the subject of five reported calls for suspicious activities since 2020.

In the run-up to the historic raid, plainclothes investigators from the BCSO gambled at the property in an undercover capacity. Once the detectives “got enough to make a case […] we came back with the warrant” on Wednesday, Salazar said.

Criminal conspiracy case is ongoing

The investigation into the case is ongoing. According to a KSAT TV online news site, Salazar said: “It’s a criminal conspiracy. We are going after an organized crime case, an organized crime charge.”

We will check it out and see if we can’t rid your community of more gambling operations like this”

The sheriff also appealed to the public to contact the BCSO organized crime hotline 210-335-GANG if they have any information on the case or other illegal activity in the area. “We will check it out and see if we can’t rid your community of more gambling operations like this or prostitution operations, human trafficking operations, weapons offenses, drug offenses,” Salazar added.

The San Antonio bust comes less than a month after 450 law enforcement officers fronted by the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group went in hard on illegal gambling operations in California. The FBI and other local law enforcement agencies searched 24 locations in East San Diego making 35 arrests, with a federal jury later indicting 47 people for offenses connected to illicit casinos.

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