An illegal casino in Argentina abruptly stopped operating this past Wednesday. Police descended on the property and shut it down after conducting a month-long investigation of the location.
Police officers brought to an end a clandestine casino that operated in a private neighborhood of Godoy Cruz, a city in the Argentinian province of Mendoza. The incident occurred during the last hours of Wednesday, and 11 people were arrested at the scene, according to local media outlet MendoVoz.
Cracking the Case
The drama began to unfold well before this past Wednesday. About a month ago, the local police force’s Economic Crimes Division received information that a house in a local neighborhood was disguising a casino inside.
Based on that tip, law enforcement began to collect data and carry out surveillance tasks under the consent of the local prosecutor, Susana Muscianisi. During the operation, investigators confirmed that the house didn’t serve as a residence, but rather, an underground casino.
The operators reportedly went to great lengths to hide their actions, which also could have raised suspicions. The house apparently had no windows that faced the outside world, adding to the mystery of what was happening inside.
On Wednesday, police were given the green light to conduct a raid. They broke into the property, arresting 11 people. Among them was the owner of the house, who also owns other property in Godoy Cruz and lives in another private neighborhood.
The procedure also seized important items for the investigation, such as AR$2 million (US$18,252) in cash, US$3,500, 11 cell phones, gaming paraphernalia, checkbooks, and other documentation.
Police ran across some familiar faces in the raid. Although they haven’t released any names, there were a number of repeat offenders. The raid snared people who police previously arrested when they dismantled another clandestine casino in a nearby neighborhood.
Police took the 11 detainees to different police stations in Godoy Cruz. They face charges of participating in or operating illegal gambling activity. The punishment could be sentences from three to six years. The outcome depends on the degree of involvement and whether the individual is a repeat offender.
Uncovering illegal casinos is a common occurrence involving law enforcement around the world, although some areas are more susceptible than others. It’s an issue that never disappears, as a new location pops up as soon as one shuts down.
Certain parts of California, for example, routinely see raids to break up illegal gambling. The US state isn’t alone. Hong Kong, Mexico, India and virtually all other territories constantly battle illegal gambling.
Among the countries where illegal gambling is more prevalent is Cambodia. However, the issue goes much further than low-key card games offering locals a little entertainment. The country is facing a plague of issues related to illegal gambling and fraud.
There, human trafficking, coercion, torture, and kidnappings go hand-in-hand with the activity. While the government says it is working to improve its image, progress is slow.
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