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21 people detained after Santa Ana police raid an internet cafe ID’d as a gambling den

Santa Ana police said officers found 19 gambling video games inside the cramped 700-square-foot building.

Police on Wednesday detained nearly two dozen people at a cybercafe in Santa Ana that authorities say was being used as an illegal gambling facility.

Twenty-one people were taken into custody at the Lucky 999 Cyber Internet business on Grand Avenue near the 5 Freeway, and some may be arrested, said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, a spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department.

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“They had been there all night,” he said of the customers.

Officers found 19 gambling video games inside the 700-square-foot building, authorities said. Santa Ana code enforcement officials also were called to the scene.

None of the detainees were armed, Bertagna said. It was unclear what charges, if any, they may face.

Santa Ana police work at the scene of an April 10 raid at an internet cafe that had gambling video games inside.
Santa Ana police work at the scene of an April 10 raid at an internet cafe that had gambling video games inside. (Santa Ana Police Department)

An investigation into the business started last year when community members began complaining about a large amount of activity — some of it allegedly criminal — at all hours of the day, Bertagna said.

Police began patrolling the area and made several arrests over the last year, mostly for possession of weapons or illegal drugs, he said.

Bertagna said that when investigators accumulated enough proof of criminal activity in the area, they obtained a warrant and searched the business early Wednesday morning.

Video taken by officers during the raid showed several people lined up against the building’s walls, their hands fastened behind their backs with zip ties. Inside, lights on several machines were still flashing and the machines were playing music.

Bertagna said two of the people detained said they were operating the business, but it was unclear who the owner is.

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