By Vince Cestone and Terisa Estacio
SAN LEANDRO (KRON) — Undercover officers found an illegal casino in operation Monday morning at a San Leandro home, and a drone played a key role in helping bring down the crime ring, police said.
Police found slot machines in a truck at the home, 10 of them in fact. On Monday, undercover agents with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department busted 14 people for reportedly running an illegal casino, selling drugs, and other crimes that allegedly happened out of the home in the middle of a quiet neighborhood where many elderly people live.
“You can see here we have cameras on it,” Sgt. Ray Kelly said.
Kelly said they have been using drones for awhile now and with a lot of success on many fronts, especially with keeping deputies safe and saving a lot of money.
In the past, authorities used helicopters on operations like this, costing tax payers thousands of dollars.
One drone, which costs about $1,200, pays for itself in one hour of an operation.
“High-risk search warrant like this where you have a lot of personnel, a lot of suspect inside a house,” Kelly said. “Before we land on the scene, it allows us to have overwatched to see what’s going on, so that our units on the ground are safe.”
Deputies could not show KRON the video from Monday because it is now evidence. But they did let KRON check out the slot machines.
Inside the house, it was a mess. It has now been red-tagged as unsafe.
Five dogs were also rescued from the home because of unsanitary conditions.
Fourteen people were arrested on a variety of offenses, from illegal gambling to outstanding warrants.
Residents said they are grateful to be rid of the criminal element in their backyard.