For most residents of San Jose, California, the evening of Tuesday, March 10, 2015, was a typical evening, trimmed with pleasant weather and family dinners. But for federal, state and local law enforcement agents, as well as the owners and employees of 11 Vietnamese cafés and bars across the city, a tale of proscribed gambling and illegal slots was unfolding.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had been conducting what would turn into the largest crackdown on unlawful gambling the city of San Jose, CA has ever known. It all came to a head last night when officers raided 11 cafes throughout the city, each owned and operated by Vietnamese families. By the time it was all over, police said more than 100 illegal slots, along with other gambling related items, had been seized in the raid.
A few blocks down Tully Road at the Xinh Xinh Café sat another vehicle; a moving truck this time. Authorities seized another load of illegal slots and gambling devices from that truck. In fact, most of the locations involved in the raid yesterday were located on or near Tully Road.
Federal agents, with the help of local and state police, have been putting together this sting operation for some time now, officially termed “Operation Omni”. The investigation included a strain of suspected illegal gambling houses operating throughout the city of San Jose, CA.
Jazmin Avalos was a witness to the scene that day, prior to the arrival of police. “They took out some machines and chairs and they started stacking them inside,” said Avalos. Describing her knowledge of the premises, she added, “There’s women that serve there in short clothes and sometimes they’re showing body parts.”
An employee of the Wave Café by the name of Guong Nguyen seemed to be genuinely shocked—and most certainly frightened—by the illegal slots raid. “I don’t do anything illegal,” Nguyen told a reporter from ABC7 News. “I don’t care, but I’m so scared, this time is the first time I’m so alarmed of the police. I’m scared.”
The San Jose news station also reported that a source with the local police department confirmed the illegal slots ring was connected to at least one murder. A series of violent crimes have taken place in the last year and a half, and authorities say they’ve been able to link them back to the Vietnamese cafes and bars involved in the raid.
Multiple people were detained and questioned by authorities following the illegal slot raid on Tuesday, but police are not confirming at this time whether anyone has been arrested or charge with a crime.