Lodi police officers have arrested 10 people after serving warrants at a Cherokee Lane business that they say housed illegal computer gambling.
The business, Web Stop, served as a computerized casino, police said. Customers could gamble at 42 computers, where patrons would wager on an electronic “slot machine-style” computer program, according to police Cpl. Dale Eubanks.
At the business, customers would purchase credits and use the credits on a computer, which had a site for slot machines, Eubanks said. If they won, they would cash in their credits in person at Web Stop.
Computer gambling is legal at Indian casinos like the one in Jackson, Eubanks said, because they are on sovereign land and not subject to the same laws as the rest of California.
Lodi police detectives, with help from Delta RATT, a regional auto theft task force, arrested two employees Tuesday on suspicion of operating a gambling business. Also arrested were eight patrons who police say were in possession of drug paraphernalia or who had outstanding warrants for their arrest.
Web Stop operated at 920 S. Cherokee Lane, Suite K, and through the residence of owner Patricia Simmons in the 3100 block of Sunflower Drive in Antioch, according to police.
Vanessa Garza, a cashier, and Jermaine Bean, a security guard, were arrested for crimes related to the gambling. Simmons was interviewed, but had not been arrested by early Wednesday evening. The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office will determine any potential charges against her.
Eubanks said that officers became suspicious about six months ago, when they recognized several people familiar to the police officers congregating at the Web Stop office.
“We first got wind of it when we saw a criminal element coming into the business,” Eubanks said.
A poster on the office wall offered a $10 credit if a customer is arrested at the Web Stop business, Eubanks said. The customer would just have to provide employees with their booking papers, and they would get their credit, he added.
The patrons arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia were Charles Norman, Rebecca Searle, Constantino Sousa and Melissa Youdall. Bruce Williams was arrested for theft. Three women were arrested on warrants: Rachelle Reese, Shirley Armstrong and Laurie Zerulla.
Most of the employees and customers who were arrested are from the Lodi area, Eubanks said. Garza and Bean were arrested on suspicion of allowing illegal gambling, and Williams was arrested on suspicion of possessing someone else’s property, Eubanks said.