Illicit Gambling Den Raid Leads to Four Arrests in Oakland

Posted on: August 3, 2023, 09:59h. 

Last updated on: August 3, 2023, 11:44h.

The raid of an illegal gaming joint in Oakland, Calif. last month led to the arrest of four men on weapons charges. It’s part of the city’s continuing crackdown against illicit gambling.

Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo
Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo, pictured above, is advocating for a crackdown on the city’s illegal gambling dens. (Image: SFGATE)

Each suspect was charged with illegal gun possession or illegal firearm activity following the July 5 search of the operation.

Police had the East 16th Street residence near the city’s Fruitvale neighborhood under surveillance when they saw a suspect “loiter in front of the residence while looking up and down the street.”

That behavior is “consistent” with someone “acting as a lookout for the casino,” according to court documents quoted by California’s Mercury News.

It turned out the lookout was a 20-year-old Fremont, Calif. man. The three other men range in age from 19 to 23. Each lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their names were not immediately available.

In addition to the arrests, officers seized three guns, numerous magazines, an unspecified amount of cash, ledgers, and slot machines from the operation.

One of the firearms was an assault-style rifle, according to CBS News. Several extended magazines were also seized.

The four suspects were apprehended and soon released from jail on their own recognizance or after posting bond.

Third Recent Raid

The court-ordered search was the third raid at the same residence within a year, Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo, D-5, told California TV station KTVU. He is chair of the council’s public safety committee.

Last month, Gallo said there were five illicit gambling dens in operation within a mile of each other. Some are in businesses that turn into gambling dens at night.

One gambling site can be raided and another one can soon open, he explained, adding that it can be hard to get residents to report the wrongdoing.

“People are reluctant to report it and point the finger at who’s doing it,” Gallo told KTVU, adding that their ongoing operations are a sore spot for the residential neighborhood.

The noise level, the activity, the gangs, the fighting that goes on — is serious,” Gallo said.

Oakland police say they continue to investigate illegal gambling dens, adding that landlords can be fined if the operations are located in their buildings.

More than a dozen illegal gambling dens operating in Oakland were identified by local police since 2020. At least three of the operations were raided.

Even after police raid the joints, they sometimes continued to operate, the Mercury News reported.

Multiple Crimes

The Oakland operations have led to serious crime.

For instance, the same gambling joint on Solano Way was robbed twice in two days in 2019. Masked bandits stole gaming machines. In 2020, at the same location a 16-year-old Pittsburg, Calif. girl was fatally shot.

Last year, in another illegal casino, four people allegedly tore the clothes off of a patron and tortured him, the Mercury News reported.

Residents Support Raids

Following last month’s raid, East Oakland residents told KTVU they want continued police enforcement on the illegal casinos.

“We don’t want the casino around here. That’s going to bring violence and other things out here,” Matthew Wilson, Sr., who is affiliated with Agnes Memorial Church, said. “Having an illegal casino brings a lot of bad energy. We’re trying to build an environment, a community.”