EDINBURG, Texas — Authorities raided two underground casinos in this border county that were being run by a group of young Chinese men. As part of the raid authorities seized more than $425,000 in cash.
The case began in November 2015 when authorities received information about underground casinos or “eight liners” in the area around the border city of La Joya, information provided to Breitbart Texas by the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office revealed.
Investigators set up surveillance operations and undercover operations to gather evidence of criminal activity tied to the illegal gambling establishments. As a result of the investigation, on Thursday afternoon law enforcement officials raided two underground casinos. The casinos were located right off U.S. Expressway 83. Investigators also raided two apartments in the border city of Mission Texas.
As a result of the raids, authorities arrested: 36-year-old Lin Fen Yuan, 22-year-old Chen Guang Yao, 21-year-old Chen Bin, 21-year-old Zhixiong Liu, and 20-year-old Wei Feng Zhuo.
All five men were formally charged with three separate counts tied to gambling and one count of engaging in organized criminal activity. The immigration status of the chinese individuals was not readily available.
From the two casinos authorities seized $427,561 in cash as well as various gambling machines.
The raids in La Joya and in Mission come just days after the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office raided three underground casinos in the border city of Brownsville. During those raids, authorities disabled dozens of gambling machines in those casinos. The underground casinos are usually unadvertised warehouses or private homes that contain dozens of gaming machines. While the practice may appear harmless, the businesses constantly have large amounts of cash on hand and are operating in an illegal fashion. They become a regular target for armed robberies. Some of those establishments have, in the past, also been used to launder money for drug cartels.