Thirteen people were arrested and dozens were detained when the Anaheim Police Department SWAT team stormed a suspected illegal gambling operation on Oct. 13 after obtaining a search warrant.
Anaheim Police Department Sgt. Shane Carringer told The Epoch Times that a team of 25 to 30 officers were involved in the operation, which targeted a shuttered hydroponics shop housing the illegal gambling den and netted around 70 detainees.
Carringer said the Anaheim SWAT team raided a “commercial-sized building” that looked like a “shuttered business” at 1676 W. Lincoln Ave. on Oct. 13. He said the alleged gambling joint had been in operation for at least “several months.”
“It's a storefront commercial building. It's labeled as a hydroponics retailer, but that retailer went out of business some years ago,” Carringer said. “The storefront labeling is still up [on] the front of the business, [but] the active entrance into that business was the rear entrance.”
That's where police began the raid shortly before 8 a.m., Carringer said. The officers used flash-bang devices to surprise the crowd, according to KABC.
“They encountered about 30 individuals who were outside, loitering to the rear of the location,” Carringer said.
After detaining the 30 loiterers, officers then entered the building, where they encountered another 40 or so people, he said. Police detained them all.
Carringer described the scene as being rife with vice.
“There was a variety of drugs that were just discarded all throughout the area: methamphetamine, heroin, synthetic drugs,” he said.
Inside, officers discovered at least two dozen gambling machines, including “video interface gambling devices," he said.
“It probably took us 2 to 2 1/2 hours to clear the scene.”
Officers were onsite for several hours after the detentions, collecting evidence and seizing the gambling machines, Carringer said. He said officers expected to find numerous guns and weapons inside.
“When we do operations like this, our main concern is getting the people out safely. We suspected we would encounter a large amount of people inside—which we did. But we need to deal with those people one by one to be as safe as possible,” the officer said.
“The downside is that it gives people ample opportunity to empty out their pockets. ... So inside, there were drugs scattered all over the place.”
Twenty-five people were issued citations and released in the field for minor offenses, such as drug possession, while another 13 were booked into the city jail.
"Those [jailed] would have been more serious offenses: warrants, probation violations, running a gambling operation, weapons violations, stuff like that,” said Carringer.
Getting a WarrantBefore putting the operation into action, police needed to get a search warrant, Carringer said. The process required the department to submit evidence to a judge.
“The main part of the search warrant is a probable cause declaration, with your investigation and statements of evidence to the judge of what you know at the time,” he said.
“And if you have probable cause to believe that a location houses subjects or evidence related to ongoing criminal activity, then a judge will sign it to execute your search warrant, go into a private residence or business, and serve that search warrant as part of your investigation and collect evidence.”
Carringer told The Epoch Times that the Anaheim police rely on the help of ordinary people to unearth crimes like the illegal gambling parlor.
“There's a variety of ways we can discover these things, from community complaints to people just telling our officers that they exist, or we might be able to piece together that there's something going on in the area,” he said.
“A lot of times ... surrounding business owners will kind of notice an uptick in crime, and they can’t put their finger on it. They just all of a sudden notice there's a lot more loitering in the area, vehicle burglaries.
“We'll start getting extra calls of assaults, batteries, robberies. So sometimes that is a tip-off in itself, that there’s one of those locations around or something extra going on that’s drawing people to a certain area.”