Chinatown Building Raided in Illegal Gambling Investigation

Around $14 million in assets are expected to be seized in the operation

By Jonathan Dienst, Shimon Prokupecz and Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Tuesday, May 22, 2012  |  Updated 9:22 PM EDT
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Federal officials say there was a full fledged backroom casino in a Chinatown building they raided Monday night, and it was controlled by members and associates of a notorious Asian gang. Jonathan Dienst reports.

NBC New York

Federal officials say there was a full fledged backroom casino in a Chinatown building they raided Monday night, and it was controlled by members and associates of a notorious Asian gang. Jonathan Dienst reports.

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Chinatown Building Raided in Illegal Gambling Investigation

NYPD and federal officials raided a building in Chinatown believed to be the center of a network of illegal gambling activities Monday. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.
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NYPD and federal officials raided a building in Chinatown believed to be the center of a network of illegal gambling activities Monday.

Officials raided the six-story building at 35 and 37 East Broadway shortly before 6 p.m., a culmination of an investigation dubbed "Operation Snake Eyes" in a reference to the game of dice.

Law enforcement sources said the building hosted a group of illegal gambling operators on floors 1, 3, 4 and 6 over at least the last two years. Games like mahjong, pai gow poker and computer-based slots were offered in nearly half the building's suites.

In all, 11 people were arrested on gambling charges, officials said.

Sources said the building was modified to accommodate the gambling operations, including the creation of ground-floor slots and rooms dedicated to hosting computer slots, and the installation of surveillance cameras.

A neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous told NBC 4 New York it was obvious to him the building was hosting a gambling den.

"In the summertime when my windows were open and their windows were open, I could hear the chips smacking," he said.

There was "just gambling, men and women up till 3 in the morning, all night sometimes," he said.

Another neighbor, Yue Wang, said it was "weird" when there were "people up there at 5 in the morning."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers marched several people out of the building during the raid. Two doctors were also arrested for allegedly practicing without a license.

Around $14 million in assets were expected to be seized, sources said. The building was also raided last year, when NYPD seized more than $200,000.

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