Posted on: May 6, 2021, 07:08h.
Last updated on: May 6, 2021, 07:08h.
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. Here’s what they located.
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.
Twenty-nine people were apprehended after the raid. Of those, eight were arrested and placed in jail on various offenses.
These include outstanding warrants, ID theft, and violation of a protective order. Additional charges against those detained could include organized crime charges, Salazar said.
Those arrested were both men and women. All are from the San Antonio area, Salazar said.
Gang Members Likely Associated With The 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.
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. There was evidence of human trafficking at the building.
Among the items seized during the raid were $130,000 in cash. Vehicles estimated to be worth $175,000 were also seized.
Also, seized were $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.
Salazar called the building “an extensive piece of property…. It’s all mazes and makeshift rooms and hidden rooms, hidden compartments.”
Later, authorities will try to seize the building. It is valued at over $800,000.
During the raid, deputies saw new construction taking place. “They were splitting floors into a first and second floor,” Salazar said. “Doing a lot of work. Quite obviously, they had big plans to expand this operation.
“And we hit them at just the right time, I think,” Salazar added.
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.
So, 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.
Praises for Sheriff’s Deputies
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.
For example, Louisa Garza wrote, “Awesome Job…. Keep Getting Them Off Our Street’s. We Don’t Want This In Our City.”
Also, some of the posters on the Facebook page want to see legal commercial gambling enacted in Texas.
For instance, one poster, Joe Martinez, said, “They should just legalize gambling we buy scratch offs it’s gambling.”
Currently, Texas legislators are considering approving the path to commercial casinos in the state. But it is unlikely to get approved any time soon.