The Kern County Sheriffs Department has been working on closing down illegal casinos in Kern County.
Sergeant Richard Anderson said they started noticing a problem about six months ago. It began with small calls then turned into stabbing calls and eventually shootings and murders.
He said when the calls got bad, they had to do something about it.
“Typically these type of operations are done with specialized units that would go in and shut them down, maybe California gaming commission or a vice unit but since we don’t have a vice unit anymore at the sheriff's department it kinda got tasked to metro patrol to handle,” said Sergeant Anderson.
He and Sergeant Ryan Dunbier stepped up, rallying deputies to bust these casinos on their downtime between calls. They said they knew they would have to do more initial work up front to prevent severe calls in the future.
According to the sergeants, the most common fish tables found cost between $7,000 and $10,000 each and owners can make twice that in two days.
goes on busts, they frequently find illegal drugs, illegal weapons, stolen cars KCSOWhen and parolees. The sergeants said when these casinos open, they bring down the surrounding communities.
“It’s just a collection point for criminals and it brings a criminal element to whatever area that they own and operate,” said Sergeant Dunbier.
In the past six months, KCSO has busted 57 casinos, making 124 arrests, confiscating almost $117,000 and seizing 524 machines.
Sergeant Anderson said he’s happy with the work they’ve done, but their work isn’t done yet.
“We’re not going to ignore it, we’re going to continue shutting them down. We’re not going to back off,” said Anderson.