Crime

Gambling Machines, Illegal Drugs Seized in California Gaming Raid

Ten “large” gaming machines and a quantity of suspected fentanyl and other illicit narcotics were among the items seized by local and regional officers in a recent Perris, Calif. raid. One gang member was arrested and another suspect could be charged.

Riverside County, Calif. Sheriff Chad Bianco shown here. His department took part in a recent gambling raid. Gaming machines and illegal drugs were seized. (Image: KESQ)

The gambling machines are “believed to be related to an illegal gambling operation,” Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a statement following the raid late last week.

Special agents from the Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control took part in the court-ordered search of the property.

Officers located more than 1,000 suspected fentanyl pills and over a quarter of a pound of suspected fentanyl powder during the search. It is an opioid used as a pain medication.

Nationally, the street value for fentanyl is $25 to $40 per tablet, according to online estimates. A patch could be sold on the street for around $40.

Two ounces of likely heroin and about half an ounce of suspected methamphetamine (meth) were among the other narcotics seized. Also, authorities located several thousand dollars and two firearms during the search. The guns were loaded, police told Patch, the regional news site.

A known gang member, identified as Danny Rodriguez, 38, was arrested in the court-ordered raid. Rodriguez was being held early Tuesday at California’s Southwest Detention Center.

He is scheduled to appear in court at the Riverside Hall of Justice later on Tuesday, according to corrections records.

Rodriguez Faces Decades in Prison If Convicted

Rodriguez is a “documented criminal street gang member,” according to Bianco. Rodriguez was arrested on numerous felony charges related to alleged drug sales, weapons possession, and illegal gambling, Bianco said.

If convicted on the charges, Rodriguez could face decades in prison. A second person also was apprehended during the raid. That unnamed person could also be charged.

San Diego Gambling Raids

Perris is located about 81 miles north of San Diego. That city was the site of large-scale gambling raids last week. The FBI broke up two dozen illegal gambling dens in San Diego in sweeping raids across the city.

The operation resulted in 35 arrests and charges against 47 people, according to federal indictments unsealed last Wednesday.

According to an FBI search-warrant affidavit, at least nine of the 24 businesses raided belonged to one man, Long Ngoc Tran, 41, also known as “Long Tu.”

Long is a reputed member of the V-Boys Vietnamese street gang. He has previous convictions for illegal gambling and drugs, according to the affidavit.

In all, 44 firearms, more than 12 pounds of methamphetamine, $263,000 in cash, and 640 gambling machines were seized during the culmination of a two-year investigation.

Ed Silverstein

Gaming Law, Tribal Gaming, Crime, Gaming Research----An award-winning journalist with credits ranging from the Associated Press to American Lawyer Media, Ed joined the Casino.org news team in 2019 with decades of legal reporting expertise under his belt. His past reporting and editing assignments include Cowles Business Media, Columbia University Press, the Connecticut Post, and Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc. Besides the law and its application to the gaming industry, Ed’s areas of expertise span business, courts, crime, politics, education, and state and local government. With an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut (where he now lives), and master’s degrees from Harvard and Yale, Ed’s professional awards include recognition from the New England Press Association and New England AP News Executives. Email: ed.silverstein@casino.org

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Ed Silverstein