San Antonio, Texas Historic Raid Leads To Hundreds of Illegal Gambling Machines
Posted on: May 6, 2021, 07:08h.
Last updated on: May 7, 2021, 10:50h.
Up to 100 workable gaming machines were seized from a non-descript yellow building in San Antonio, Texas during a court-ordered raid Wednesday. Another 200 or so non-working gaming machines were also discovered.
The 20,000 to 30,000 square-foot site is also suspected as a location for human trafficking and illegal drug dealing, according to Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.
The sheriff’s office released a video to Casino.org of the seized machines crammed into a room.
Twenty-nine people were apprehended after the raid. Of those, eight were arrested and placed in jail on various offenses.
The offenses range from outstanding warrants, ID theft, and violation of a protective order. Additional charges against those detained could include organized crime charges, Salazar said. Those arrested included men and women. All are from the San Antonio area.
“A lot of us who are here are 20, 30-year veterans of law enforcement, and everybody here, we’re all in agreement, this is the most extensive gambling operation any of us has ever seen in a couple of decades,” Salazar said as he stood near the building.
Gang Members, Trafficking Associated with Operation
Salazar predicted there could be criminal conspiracy charges forthcoming. The operation involves organized crime and likely gang members, Salazar claims. Illegal activities also may involve those from at least one foreign nation, Salazar said.
Police also found evidence of human trafficking at the building. While there, deputies located a 16-year-old girl. She was sent back to her family. Deputies interviewed her to see if she was a victim of a crime.
Among the items seized during the raid were $130,000 in cash, vehicles estimated to be worth $175,000, and $45,000 worth of assorted property, such as tools. Seven firearms were also seized.
Deputies plan to continue to search all gambling machines for any more money.
A Frenzy of Activity
For many months, neighbors were concerned about nefarious activity taking place at the building. Since 2020, police responded to five calls related to suspicious activity at the site.
Before the raid, the sheriff’s office sent in undercover investigators who posed as gamblers. They presented their findings to a judge, and the court-ordered raid was approved.
During the raid, police found extensive hidden rooms and floors and a plethora of new construction taking place.
It’s all mazes and makeshift rooms and hidden rooms, hidden compartments,” Salazar said.
Authorities will try to seize the building. It is valued at over $800,000.
Calls to Legalize Gambling in Texas
Residents seeing deputies at the site following the raid gave the deputies thumbs-up signals. Other praises were posted on the sheriff’s department’s Facebook page.
Some of the posters on the Facebook page want to see legal commercial gambling enacted in Texas.
“They should just legalize gambling. We buy scratch-offs, it’s gambling,” one poster, Joe Martinez, said.
Currently, Texas legislators are considering approving the path to commercial casinos in the state. But it is unlikely to get approved any time soon.
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