Detectives for the New York Police Department have busted an illegal gambling ring based in Queens. The raid, which took place on the 4th June 2019, saw seven arrests. The gang is tied to Costa Rica, where a further suspect has been arrested. He now faces extradition to the United States.
Queens District Attorney John Ryan said the gang was running an illegal sports betting operation from their offices located in Astoria, Queens. During the raid, detectives seized electronic devices, more than $47,000 in cash and gambling records.
Michael Regand – a 61-year-old resident of Long Island – was the supposed head of the ring. Along with six other Queens-based residents, Regand headed up the illegal operation.
Combined, the suspects are facing more than 39 indictments, including conspiracy, money-laundering, loan sharking, enterprise corruption along with illegal gambling. If found convicted, the gang face hefty jail sentences and fines.
A Carefully Planned Operation
In response to the raid, Ryan said: “This office, working collaboratively with our law enforcement colleagues, have taken down a number of illegal gambling operations over the years. Putting these kinds of illegal enterprises out of business saves untold numbers of people from financial devastation.”
Police Commissioner James O’Neill stated: “The NYPD and its law enforcement partners are committed to driving down crime beyond the current historical lows in New York City. It is due to this cooperation that this investigation involving enterprise corruption has successfully resulted in this indictment.”
The gang first started operating back in January 2016. They created a service where punters would place bets using a toll-free 800 number of through their website. Prosecutors alleged that the gang even accepted bets in person, from their office. Costa Rica was used to house the wire room – here, their website was hosted and payments were processed.
Soon after its launch the NYPD became aware of the ring, and a three-year investigation started. Police officers used wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping devices and had surveillance teamers follow the gang to collect evidence.
Recordings of the gang appear to show the suspects discussing various aspects of their business – including matters such as interest rates, customer accounts and how best to move money around.
The defendants are due to appear back in court on June 16th. Here, they will enter their pleas.