Crime

Four slot machines seized in Fresno illegal gambling operation

Law enforcement authorities remove a slot machine from a south-central Fresno residence where illegal gambling were reportedly being conducted, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Law enforcement authorities remove a slot machine from a south-central Fresno residence where illegal gambling were reportedly being conducted, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. mginese@fresnobee.com

Four men were arrested Wednesday night in south-central Fresno after detectives investigating a marijuana-growing operation made an unusual discovery: an illegal gambling setup that featured casino-like slot machines, authorities said.

Detectives located four of the machines, along with money suspected in relation to the crimes, said Sgt. Paul Cervantes of the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC) Metropolitan Tactical Team.

Cervantes said a find like this is unusual because of the ease with which these machines can be moved from location to location.

Typically, he said, a network of individuals work at one location but transfer the machines frequently to avoid detection, making them that much harder to track down.

The detectives had conducted a sweep of the house in the 2300 block of E. Thomas Ave. to search for drug paraphernalia related to a marijuana cultivation.

Among the drugs and gambling systems found at the residence, detectives also found a handgun and a safe that detectives suspect contains more illegal firearms, Cervantes said.

“It was ... good fortune to stumble across this,” Cervantes said. He called it a “significant illegal gaming operation” and said that it could have caused extensive danger to the neighborhood.

The primary suspect is a 46-year-old male believed to live at the residence. Two of the four men arrested are previous convicted felons, Cervantes said, adding to the charges the suspects will face.

Megan Ginise: 559-441-6614

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