Delray Beach SWAT teams crackdown on illegal gambling operations

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - They look like legal businesses, but police say they're really hot spots for illegal gambling.

Delray Beach Police SWAT teams raided three different shops Saturday morning, taking cash, alcohol and criminals.

With hands tied, dozens were photographed and restrained.

They were caught in an illegal gambling sting at the Oasis Beauty Salon off the 1500 block of South Congress Avenue.

"I'm stunned I'm just trying to get my hair done and now I'm wondering why does my son go there to get his hair done," said Gwendolyn Deas.

Deas is visiting from out of town so she was fooled. That's because from the outside, the shop looks like a beauty salon.

When you take a close look though, Delray Beach Police say the Oasis Beauty Salon is the home of illegal gambling.

"What we have here is the fake wall," said Sgt. Nicole Guerriero, spokeswoman for Delray Beach Police.

Behind the fake wall is a back room.

The room investigators found numerous people placing bets for the game called Bolita, an illegal style of the lottery.

"What you see in here is the winning number for the 22nd of June," Sgt. Guerriero said. "You have the New York A.M. game and the Florida A.M. game. You have the New York P.M. game and the Florida P.M. game.  This is what they bet on and this is what the money is made from."

Winnings ranging up to thousands of dollars.

Money now being confiscated.

"I think it's terrible they shouldn't be illegal gambling anywhere especially since they've legalized gambling everybody should go where they have it legal," Deas said.

While one SWAT team raided the Oasis Beauty Salon, another SWAT team raided Lake Ida Supermarket on 2200 Lake Ida Road and another SWAT team came into this Polo's Caribbean market at 1055 South Congress Avenue.

The three stores netted more than 12 arrests.

"How this all began was businesses were being robbed and they weren't reporting it to police," Sgt. Guerriero said. "The reason it wasn't being reported is because there was illegal activity going on in the businesses and they didn't want us to know about."

But after six months of investigating, Delray Beach Police officers know all about it and more.

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