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San Ramon home searched in illegal-gambling probe

Police: Resident owns San Leandro business at center of investigation; no arrests made

Investigators searched a San Ramon home and the resident's San Leandro business Tuesday, recovering "large sums of cash" believed to be illegal-gambling proceeds, according to San Leandro police.

Police allege Diamond Internet Services masked itself as an "Internet cafe" while actually serving as an illegal gambling business that continued to operate even after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from authorities and bringing crime into its San Leandro neighborhood.

"The influx of criminal activity surrounding this illegal gambling establishment impacted our city," San Leandro police Lt. Robert McManus said in a statement. "We attempted to resolve the issue by asking the owner to close, but our request was ignored, causing us to conduct a criminal investigation into the alleged illegal activities occurring at the business known for Internet-based gambling."

Authorities made no arrests in connection with the probe Tuesday, and the names of the people at the center of the investigation were not released -- nor was the location of the San Ramon residence in question.

San Leandro police detectives and agents from the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Gambling Control executed search warrants at the San Ramon home and San Leandro business Tuesday morning, according to a police statement.

Police said Diamond Internet Services had at least 70 computers available for public gambling on online games like "Jacks or Better" -- as seen in casinos. Patrons would allegedly pay money and receive credits to play the games, and when finished, winners could receive a cash payout from the business or purchase items from an Internet site based upon the points they won.

"During the investigation, detectives learned that it was not uncommon for winners to be paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in winnings by Diamond Internet Services before they left the establishment," McManus said.

Police also said they responded to more than 120 calls in the "immediate area" of the Marina Boulevard business, resulting in at least a dozen arrests on drug, auto theft or domestic violence charges -- not counting any incidents involving patrons occurring away from the business's neighborhood.

Authorities allege they seized "large sums of cash" in their searches Tuesday, without specifying the amount of money found. They said they plan to present their investigation to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office when completed.

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