SAN DIEGO -- A grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday charges 25 people and two businesses with participating in an illegal gambling operation that laundered an estimated $10 million in gambling proceeds through card rooms in Chula Vista and San Diego.
A contingent of federal, state and local law enforcement personnel, including a SWAT team, served search warrants at Palomar Card Club on El Cajon Boulevard in North Park and Seven Mile Casino on Bay Boulevard in Chula Vista early Wednesday morning, arresting suspects and gathering evidence.
Agents seized more than $600,000 during Wednesday's searches of player accounts and bank accounts, according to authorities.
The raids culminated a “multi-year'' investigation into the businesses, FBI spokesman Darrell Foxworth said.
State Attorney General Kamala Harris said the “casinos allegedly engaged in money laundering and illegal gambling schemes that undermine the well-being of our communities.''
According to the indictment, the defendants ran illicit gambling operations, including illegal bookmaking, poker and blackjack, from at least 2013 until last month.
Charges include running an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, failure to maintain an anti-money laundering program and transportation for prostitution.
”This indictment describes a massive operation that laundered millions of dollars in illicit proceeds,'' said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.
California Bureau of Gambling Control Chief Wayne Quint Jr. issued emergency closure orders for both the Palomar and Village Club card rooms.
Those facing federal charges in the case were identified as Kyle Allen; Alfredo Barba; Stephen “Stevie T.'' Bednar; Jaime Behar; Jeffrey Broadt; Ricardo Castellanos-Velasquez; Arturo Diaz-Ramirez; Matthew Greenwood; Michael Hipple; Joshua Jones; Alexandra Kane; Craig Kolk; Ali “Alex'' Lareybi; Thomas “Tommy Ty'' Mallozzi; Jeffrey Mohr; Joseph Palermo; Christopher Parsons; Jean Paul Rojo; Naseem “Nick'' Salem; Bryan Sibbach; Harvey Souza; Jeffrey Stoff; David “Fat Dave'' Stroj; Robert Stroj; and Duy Trang.