Santa Rosa police were investigating the owner of four businesses around Sonoma County where patrons allegedly gambled on card games and slots on the Internet, a police sergeant said.
The owner of the businesses, Andrew Lee, 56, of Rohnert Park, was not arrested, but four employees were cited for misdemeanor charges of facilitating the use of illegal gambling devices, Sgt. Mike Lazzarini said.
Santa Rosa police will submit information to the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office regarding any possible gambling charges against Lee, Lazzarini said.
The investigation and the citations Thursday came after police received several nuisance complaints of gambling activity from other businesses near Cyber Cafi SR in the 2400 block of West Third Street, according to Lazzarini.
Lee also owns Computer Place, located in the 3200 block of Santa Rosa Avenue just outside Santa Rosa city limits, Cyber Cafi, in the 6400 block of Redwood Drive in Rohnert Park and Jukebox Guys Corporation, a supplier of legitimate video games located in the 600 block of Martin Drive in Rohnert Park, Lazzarini said.
Fifty officers from the Santa Rosa Police Department, Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety, Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, state Department of Justice's Bureau of Gambling Control and the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force served search warrants on the four businesses and Lee's home Thursday, Lazzarini said.
Detectives seized more than 100 computers and more than $150,000 in cash and business records from the two Cyber Cafis and Computer Place, he said.
Computers, currency and business records also were taken from Lee's home and Jukebox Guys Corporation, Lazzarini said.
"It's a new trend that came to the surface in the last couple of months," Lazzarini said about the gambling at businesses that typically offer legitimate access to Yahoo and Google sites.
The computers at the four businesses "went straight to propriety software for gambling," he said.
There were dozens of slot and card games available to the businesses' patrons, Lazzarini said.
"There's still a tremendous amount of evidence to submit to the district attorney's office," he said.
The four employees who were cited for facilitating gambling are Juriana Rodriguez Lara, 26, and Lourdes Juarez Orozco, 19, both of Santa Rosa; Lucero Gomez-Altamirano, 25, of Rohnert Park and Jessica Ceclilea Briggs, 23, of Cotati, police said.
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