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Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department vice officers seized thousands of illegal slot machines this morning from a warehouse south of downtown Los Angeles. The seizure stemmed from a month-long investigation, which came from a tip by patrol officers who noticed the slot machines in the warehouse.
Undercover vice officers were able to buy several slot machines, which led to probable cause for today’s search warrant at 1702 South Hooper Street. The slot machines were sold for between $300 and $500. Two men were arrested for illegal sales of slot machines, Penal Code 330 (B), a misdemeanor, which carries a $500 bail. Those arrested were Daniel Perelmutter, 64, of Calabasass, and Daniel Cabrera, 55, of El Monte.
“The criminal penalties are minor for this crime,” said LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vernon. “But what these men face now are significant civil penalties imposed by the state and federal governments for evading taxes and workers’ compensation laws. The fines could run into the ten of thousands of dollars in addition to the destruction of the slot machines.”
Representatives of the State Board of Equalization, which regulates state taxes, were present at the seizure. Special Agents from the California Attorney General’s office also participated in the raid. The Attorney General enforces gambling laws under its division of gambling control. Neither of the men arrested possessed any license for selling slot machines.
“All of these slot machines originated out of Asia, mostly China,” said Special Agent Frank Herbert, who is assigned to the Division of Gambling Control. “As gambling becomes more popular, we are seeing more and more illegal slot machines coming into the state.”
Vice officers discovered between 1,500 and 2,000 slot machines in the warehouse, which also contained boxes of children’s toys. Officers found documents showing a shipment of slot machines from China arriving today in the Port of Los Angeles. United States Customs agents seized the shipment, which was estimated at over 1000 slot machines.
“This may be the largest seizure of illegal slot machines in LAPD’s history,” Vernon said. “No one assigned to Vice could remember any thing bigger in the last several decades.”
It is illegal to possess or sell a slot machine in California. Special licenses are issued for slot machine dealers in California, but sales must be made outside the state, where slot machines are legal. Slot machines over 25 years old are considered collector’s items and are legal to possess in the state.