Police find gambling operation while looking for businesses selling tobacco to minors, LBPD says

Detectives who were looking for businesses that illegally sell tobacco products to minors ended up finding much more Saturday morning when they stumbled upon an illegal gambling operation, officials said.

The detectives were working the tobacco operation at a store in the 200 block of West Anaheim Street near Pacific Avenue at 11:20 a.m. when they made the discovery of six illegal gambling machines inside, police said.

Police said they detained a clerk, 40-year-old Damien Henry from Long Beach, and found he was in possession of a gun. He had been on supervised release from jail, police said. Henry was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of a firearm and accepting illegal wagers. He was held on a $35,000 bail.

The owner of the business, 29-year-old Vaughn Telemaque from Long Beach, was arrested on suspicion of running an illegal gambling operation and is being held on a $20,000 bail, police said.

Detectives also found a neighboring business that had another illegal gambling machine inside, according to the LBPD. The owner of that business, 50-year-old Hout Chhim from Long Beach, was detained and released with a misdemeanor citation for possession of an illegal gambling machine, police said.

In total, detectives confiscated seven gambling machines, one gun and over $1,700 in cash, police said.

This bust follows a raid by police on Thursday of an alleged operation in Wrigley that had been shut down once before in October. Police have been working to stamp out a new wave of illegal gambling operations, or “slaphouses” for months.

Police ask that anyone with information about illegal gambling activity contact vice detectives at 562-570-7219. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call 1-800-222-8477 or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.

What’s a slaphouse? Police say they’re fighting new wave of illegal gambling

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.