Underground New Jersey Casino Network Busted, Authorities Say Defendants At Large

Posted on: August 27, 2019, 12:57h. 

Last updated on: August 27, 2019, 01:22h.

Alleged illegal New Jersey casino clubs have been operating in downtown Newark and across the state. That’s according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, which brought charges against 47 suspects this week.

New Jersey casino bust raid drugs
Pictured are 28 of the 47 suspects involved in an alleged underground New Jersey casino business that is also  accused of acting as an illegal drug delivery service. (Image: Essex County)

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said several law enforcement agencies recently executed several search warrants across the Garden State. The raid in the Ironbound District of Newark turned especially fruitful for detectives.

Police seized 23,000 grams of marijuana and two kilos of cocaine that has an estimated street value of $1.1 million. Seven guns, which included a .223 assault rifle and 12-gauge shotgun, were additionally recovered.

The search also turned up nearly $300,000 in cash, as well as details regarding an underground network of illegal casinos where slot machines and card games went unregulated. Law enforcement allege that the drug network delivered illegal street narcotics to customers.

Newark Public Safety Office Anthony Ambrose told NJ.com the numerous gaming rooms were each essentially a “mini casino without the cocktail waitresses.”

Suspects At Large

At a briefing Tuesday, acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens said of the 47 individuals charged, 16 remain at large.

Stephens described the operation of what he alleges was a drug business on wheels. He also addressed the suspected casino gambling.

The alleged criminal activities also extended to the operation of after-hour gambling clubs in which slot machines and illegal card games took place,” Stephens explained. “One such location was at 84 Monroe Street here in Newark.”

Stephens concluded that the 24/7 enterprise was “a very organized activity.” He added that the goal is to find out the major supplier that was delivering the network the drugs. The acting prosecutor said the Monroe Street location was extremely active and a site of well-known gambling activity.

Ongoing Crime

Ambrose thanked the various law enforcement agencies involved for infiltrating the alleged illegal drug and gambling network. He especially saluted the crackdown on the Monroe Street location, as the Ironbound District is “uncharted waters where you don’t see this type of enforcement.”

Stephens said law enforcement won’t doing any victory laps, as they’re more than aware that drugs and illegal gambling is an ever-prevalent problem.

Newark 2018 Crime Stats

Homicides – 69*

Shooting Victims – 236*

Gun Recoveries – 566

Rapes – 165

Overall Violent Crime – 2,587*

*represents decreases from 2017

Earlier this year in nearby Passaic County, 45 people were arrested in an alleged high-stakes gambling ring. Prosecutors seized $2 million in cash and brought charges against the individuals, including operating a large-scale criminal enterprise involving gambling, money laundering, and racketeering.

But that alleged rogue gambling and the Newark announcement this week rings pale in comparison to the one infiltrated in 2010. That year, New Jersey resident Nicky Scarfo Jr., the son of the late notorious Nicodemo Scarfo mobster, was indicted on law enforcement claims that he oversaw a $2 billion international sports betting operation for the Lucchese crime family.

Scarfo was convicted of multiple felonies in 2014 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He’s scheduled for release in 2037, when he would be 71 years old.