SAN JOSE, Calif. - Police say they’ve arrested the alleged mastermind behind an underground casino operation in San Jose. Several suspects were arrested, and police say they found dozens of gambling machines, drugs and weapons at the locations.
Police say concerned residents tipped them off to these illegal underground casinos. Now that they’ve made arrests, they want people to continue being vigilant and to report things that just seem out of place.
"These casinos, as you can imagine, bring in lots of attention into the neighborhood," said Steven Aponte, a Public Information Officer with the San Jose Police Dept.
An underground casino ring was busted by San Jose police.
After months of resident complaints and investigating, San Jose Police say they’ve shut down a string of casinos they believe were operated by 43-year-old Chuong Ho. Police say Ho was the man running seven underground casinos, bringing people to the locations from all over the Bay Area.
"We believe he is the coordinator and owner of all casinos that we broke up just this very month. Of course, there are many other associates who were arrested as we processed evidence and the investigation is ongoing to see if any individuals will be identified and prosecuted along with this individual," Aponte said.
Authorities suspect Chuong Ho, 43, was the mastermind behind an underground casino ring, according to the San Jose Police Department.
Last Thursday, Police served search warrants at six locations in San Jose and one in the city of Los Banos. Investigators confiscated over $285,000, 11 firearms, over eight pounds of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine, 500 MDMA pills or Ecstasy, and over 2,000 pieces of stolen mail.
"It all stemmed from a community complaint. From people looking into their neighborhood and noticing something’s not right, something’s going on at that residence," Aponte said.
In the Bay Area, there are nearly two dozen casinos open to serve anyone at least 21 years old who wants to gamble. So why would someone risk going to an illegal casino?
"We know that people gamble for different reasons," said Dr. Cathia Walters, a Clinical Psychologist.
Dr. Walters says some people, especially those who may have a gambling addiction, may go to underground casinos for convenience and secrecy.
"These in-home casinos, back alley or a laundromat, it’s a hop, skip and a jump for a lot of people. So, it’s easier to access. It also feels, I think for some people, probably a little safer. For those who may issues around shame of being seen walking into a casino, say 'I’m just doing my laundry. That’s all I’m doing,'" said Dr. Walters.
Aponte says if people have concerns about suspicious activity in the neighborhood, they can make anonymous calls to police or report it directly to the San Jose Police Department.
KTVU's LaMonica Peters reports.