Thursday, April 3, 2014

Florida Internet Casinos Raided, Again

ROCKLEDGE, Florida -- The Illegal Gaming Task Force served search warrants today in five Florida counties targeting internet cafés owned by Ivan Vega, 1873 Pine Bay Drive, Lake Mary, Fla., and Peter Miller, 120 Sand Castle Way, Neptune Beach, Fla. 


The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a release that these warrants represent a continuing crackdown on the operators of illegal gambling centers around Florida known as internet cafés.  


Along with today's operation, Ivan Vega was also arrested on a warrant from an earlier investigation conducted by State Attorney Willie Meggs of the 2nd Judicial Circuit. Vega was charged with keeping a gambling house, manufacture, sale, possession of coin operated devices, lottery, and plays at games of chance.


“These warrants are a key step in investigating organizations claiming to be ‘internet cafés’ but actually conducting illegal gaming.  My Office of Statewide Prosecution will continue to collaborate with law enforcement on these cases,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. 


Search warrants were executed in Duval, Columbia, Marion, Brevard, Lake and counties. During the execution of warrants, Gaming Task Force investigators seized computers, cash related to the illegal activity, banking records and employee rosters.  


“These warrants will likely lead to the arrests of key figures within these organizations for racketeering and money laundering,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.  “This is a warning to other so-called internet café operators. If you operate outside the law, you are a target.”


Members of the Illegal Gaming Task Force include FDLE Agents, Seminole County Sheriff Donald Eslinger, Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson and the Office of Statewide Prosecution.


In addition to warrants served by the Illegal Gaming Task Force, local law enforcement agencies served additional warrants in their jurisdictions today, including Brevard County Sheriff’s Offices and Rockledge, Palm Bay and West Melbourne Police Departments.  The Brevard County Sheriff's Office arrested five internet café site managers as part of the operation.  


“The Rockledge Police Department is grateful for the assistance provided by State Attorney Phil Archer, The Illegal Gaming Task Force, FDLE agents, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Seminole County Sheriff Donald Eslinger, Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson, and Office of Statewide Prosecution,” said Rockledge Police Chief Joseph LaSata. 


“Without their valuable knowledge and assistance, we would not have been able to bring to fruition the illegal gaming operations in our city in such a timely, efficient manner. Our goal is to always maintain the safety of our residents and visitors to our city; today with the assistance of our law enforcement partners we did just that.” 


More warrants were served in Brevard County than any other Florida county.  Warrants served on internet cafés in Brevard County are as follows:


Lucky's Internet Café
2208 Fiske Boulevard
Rockledge, Florida


United American Apparel
234 E. Merritt Island Causeway
Merritt Island, Florida

United American Apparel
6450 N. Wickham Road, Suite 100
Melbourne, Florida


Mag 7
246 Highway A1A
Satellite Beach, Florida

Coconuts Internet Café
950 N. Courtenay Parkway, #13
Merritt Island, Florida

Lucky Shamrock Arcade
130 Cleveland Avenue
Cocoa Beach, Florida


United American Apparel
3130 W New Haven Avenue
West Melbourne, Florida


Pirates Too!
5055 Babcock Street, Suite 1B
Palm Bay, Florida


United American Apparel
1899 Murrell Road, Units 108 & 112
Rockledge, Florida