The city of San Diego was hit with raids recently, as federal agents took down 24 different slaphouses, with links to illegal gambling, drugs, and the V-Boys street gang. The raids took place Wednesday morning and resulted in 35 arrests. A total of 47 people face charges.
Details of an FBI search-warrant affidavit detail that nine of the businesses belonged to an individual named Long Ngoc Tran. The 41-year-old is a long-time member of the V-Boys street gang. In the past, Tran has been convicted of drugs and illegal gambling.
During the raid, police seized items along with arresting those involved. Over 12 pounds of methamphetamine was taken into custody plus 44 firearms and 640 gambling machines. Cash amounting to $263,000 was seized.
The raids were part of a two-year investigation into the slaphouses. The term is used to describe underground gambling dens in California. These facilities are often connected to violent crime and drugs.
San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit commented that several crimes have been linked to the operations. The Violent Crimes Task Force led the investigation into the facilities and arrests were made to create a safer environment in the local communities.
Slaphouses came to be as locals began to offer illegal gambling machines. The title is derived from the sound players make when hitting the buttons to play the games. Operators often use vacant storefronts to run the illegal gambling operations.
Some of the venues that were included in the raid were located inside homes or small businesses, even apartments and outbuildings within residential areas. The slaphouses were operating at all times, even during the pandemic when people were supposed to be social distancing.
Of those who were arrested on Wednesday, some were owners of the businesses while others were bankers, security guards, and drug dealers.