50 detained in SWAT raid on illegal gambling storefront, police say

A day after someone was killed at a suspected illegal gambling parlor, Long Beach police took dozens of people into custody when they raided a different gambling operation in the Wrigley area, authorities said.

SWAT officers and vice detectives descended on the storefront on Pacific Avenue near Burnett Street around 3:30 this morning, police said.

They detained somewhere around 50 people in and around the building, Lt. Michael Richens said. After sorting through the possible suspects, 11 people were arrested, authorities said.

“Additionally, three illegal gambling machines, four firearms, ammunition, narcotics, and approximately $5,000 in cash were confiscated,” police said in a statement. “Two stolen vehicles were also recovered at the location.”

The inside of a suspected illegal gambling parlor on Pacific Avenue near Burnett Street. Photo courtesy Long Beach police.

The inside of a suspected illegal gambling parlor on Pacific Avenue near Burnett Street. Photo courtesy Long Beach police.

Police said detectives were first told about this particular illegal gambling spot earlier this year, sparking the investigation that eventually led to them serving a search warrant this morning.

The building that was raided had new security cameras watching over the shabby storefront. Its windows were papered over or blocked with blankets.

Photo by Jeremiah Dobruck.

At one point a few hours after the raid, a silver sedan pulled into the driveway and then quickly reversed away and sped down Pacific as a police detective walked up to the car.

This is at least the third recent raid Long Beach police have carried out on a suspected gambling front.

Photo by Jeremiah Dobruck.

On Oct. 8, police said they arrested eight people at a location posing as a discount store on Anaheim Street near Stanley Avenue. In July, officers seized gambling machines and arrested three suspects on Cherry Avenue.

Long Beach police previously said they’re proactively targeting illegal gambling, “which can often lead to other violent crimes,” according to an LBPD statement.

Gun and money seized during an illegal gambling raid on Wednesday Oct. 16, 2019. Photo courtesy Long Beach police.

Gun and money seized during an illegal gambling raid on Wednesday Oct. 16, 2019. Photo courtesy Long Beach police.

On Oct. 15, a day before today’s raid, a man was shot to death at a suspected illegal gambling establishment near Downtown, on 10th Street just west of Long Beach Boulevard, according to police.

And in August, a man was killed in a shooting at a suspected gambling house on Pacific Coast Highway near Walnut Street.

Police identified the people arrested today as:

  • Channy Teng, 38, of Torrance, who was booked on an outstanding warrant and held on $20,000 bail
  • Oscar Vasquez, 27, of Long Beach, who was booked on an outstanding warrant and held without bail
  • Monserret Lopez, 37, of Southgate, who was booked on an outstanding warrant and held without bail
  • Yvette Smith, 35, of San Pedro, who was booked on an outstanding warrant and suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and held without bail
  • Sokhom Nget, 38, of Artesia, who was booked on an outstanding warrant and held without bail
  • Michael Johnson, 28, of Carson, who was booked on suspicion of unlawful possession of ammunition and held on $35,000 bail
  • Christian Yap, 38, of Carson, who was booked on suspicion of illegal possession of a firearm and held on $35,000 bail
  • Christopher Metz, 38, of Long Beach, who was booked on an outstanding warrant held on $50,000 bail
  • Anthony Newman, 34, of Long Beach, who was booked on four outstanding warrants and held on $125,000 bail
  • Danielle Leigh, 51, of Lakewood, who was booked on an outstanding warrant and held on $1,500 bail
  • Thomas Rodriguez, 46, of Lomita, who was booked on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale held on $30,000 bail

Editor’s note: This story was updated with more information from police including the fact that the victim in the Oct. 15 shooting has died.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children, Paul and Simon.
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