Illegal Gambling Ring Busted In NY ChinatownMay 23, 2012 3:06 pm
On Tuesday, an alleged gambling ring was busted at a six-story building in New York’s Chinatown after two years of illegal operations.
The police sting was named “Operation Snake Eyes,” in reference to a bad luck thrown in gambling parley, and resulted in NYPD and federal officials swooping on the building at 35-37 East Broadway and making eleven arrests. In addition to $163,000 in cash being found, gambling tables and other evidence were confiscated, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official James T. Hayes Jr, explaining:
“This type of sophisticated operation, where you have a building where at least four floors were dedicated to different types of gambling-type dens, that’s not something that we see a lot of.”
Furthermore, federal authorities believe the building was also being used for trademark counterfeiting, prostitution, and as an illegal medical center. Consequently, a civil forfeiture is now being sought for the building, which was the subject of another raid only last year. On that occasion only the 6th floor was targeted resulting in $210,000 being confiscated by NYPD.
Apparently, the illegal East Broadway den provided profits for Asian organized crime gangs, who then set up an alternate venue at nearby 93 Henry St. in order to cope with excess demand. This building, too, was raided at the same time, with ICE official James T. Hayes Jr, stating:
“We saw that the premises and the casino operation was protected by armed gang members. And so for us, that’s a tremendous concern, especially in such an area that sees such heavy pedestrian traffic.”
Addressing the wider issue, former NYPD officer Joseph Chan said that gambling is a feature of big Asian communities, where immigrants with limited language skills often sink their earnings into games. Chan also said that police raids and arrests were rarely a deterrent for gamblers, commenting:
“Once they take everything out, within six, seven or eight hours there’s a carpenter down there, two-by-fours, bang bang bang, they’re setting up new tables already. And the gambling would be on the next day.”