Police in Modesto, California arrested twelve people from two businesses recently, following allegations that they were carrying out illegal online gambling operations.
During the Modesto raid, 64 computers were seized from the two businesses, Andthen.com and LinkNet, which had each attempted to disguise their illegal operations through advertising themselves as an internet cafe and a computer services company.
False Fronts for Illegal Activities
The Modesto Bee newspaper reported that Modesto Police Sergeant Ivan Valencia stated that neither of the two businesses were offering the advertised services, and were in fact offering illegal online gambling services around the clock.
In addition to the twelve arrests and 64 seized computers, the raids conducted by state and local law enforcement authorities, which were carried out after a two-month investigation following complaints of public intoxication, fighting in public and gang activities from local residents, also resulted in the seizure of around $8,000 in cash.
Lieutenant Rick Applegate of the Modesto Police told a local news station that there was “drug use in the parking lot, sex acts in the parking lot, prostitution,” showing just how important it is to shut down such operations, not only due to the illegal nature of the online gambling services, but also as a matter of public safety.
“The first night I was there, a guy was behind the dumpster doing crack,” explained former employee of one of the raided businesses, Danny Fessenden. “They were sharing needles in plain view.”
Bad For Business
Nancy Breshears, who works in a nearby local business, told the newspaper that “people went in and out all day,” describing visitors as “low-lifes” and explaining that legitimate businesses in the area suffered as a result of the shady characters surrounding the illegal operations, as many customers were put off from using the local businesses.
“They told us when we questioned it that it’s a computer store,” said Breshears, who explained that one of her co-workers then went inside one of the operations and found people conducting gambling activities.
Sergeant Ivan Valencia explained that during the raid, many found on the premises also had illegal substances on them or had previously issued warrants for their arrest still outstanding.
Upon the arrival of the authorities, Breshears explained that a collective cheer from locals could be heard. “People were afraid to go into any of the stores because of the type of people going in there,” she stated. “I’m just glad they finally busted them. We were all thrilled.”