Joint Police Operation Nets Large Ring of Sports Bookmakers

December 21, 2001

Los Angeles: Over the past few weeks, The Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Area Vice Unit with the help of LAPD officers from other divisions, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Santa Monica Police Department have been conducting a Bookmaking Operation investigation. On Sunday, December 16, 2001, the investigating officers served multiple search warrants at 12 locations within the Marina Del Rey and Venice areas of Los Angeles.
Evidence consistent with sports bookmaking was seized and is being examined by Department gaming experts. Pacific Area Vice was the primary investigative unit. The warrants were executed with the assistance of personnel from throughout the Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Santa Monica Police Department.
A total of 9 arrests were made and evidence consistent with a sports bookmaking operation was seized, including, but not limited to: a number of computers, and $576,608.05 in cash. The investigation revealed that the operation was headed by several members of one family. Indictments for violation of the State RICO statue will be sought.
Arrestees include : Eric Portocarrero, 31 years-old; Joseph Barrios, 35 years-old, Charles Sullivan, 29 years-old; Amir Mokayef, 25 years-old; Alpha Mohamed Berry, 40 years-old; Matthew Gilman, 26 years-old; Barry Landry, 31 years-old; Valerie Smith, 24 years-old; and, Bert Wohfeld, 74 years-old.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Guillermo Campos, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.