An illegal gambling operation set up inside a Santa Ana smoke shop was uncovered by police during an early morning raid Tuesday.
The smoke shop, located in a strip mall on 1st Street near the 5 Freeway, was raided by Santa Ana police at about 5 a.m. At the time, the shop was packed with more than 40 people inside. Santa Ana police told KTLA the illegal gambling operation was the biggest they've seen yet and has been causing major problems in the community.
"A lot of them are running illegal dispensaries out of these things, so you get the gambling, you get the marijuana, you get the prostitution," Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. "The gangs are providing security, they're taxing the businesses to operate on their turf. Just this weekend at one of these facilities we had a shooting."
Video from inside the smoke shop showed a lot of cash uncovered inside the illegal gaming machines.
Police told KTLA some customers were taken into custody and could face misdemeanor gambling charges.