A Flagstaff business was raided this week in a big gambling ring bust.

According to the Flagstaff Police Department, law enforcement officials served a search warrant at a business on Fourth Street early Thursday morning in response to reports of an illegal gambling business being run within the city of Flagstaff. Law enforcement also executed search warrants at a house in Parks and a house in Phoenix.

They found hundreds of computers that were allegedly used as unregulated gambling devices for online gaming.

Sgt. Cory Runge of the Flagstaff Police Department said because the machines were unregulated, the people running the scheme were able to set very low win ratios on the games they offered.

“Typically, with these types of operations, they target the elderly, minorities, low-income communities and women,” Runge said. “They have them come in and gamble. Then, because the win ratios are so low, they almost never win. It’s basically a big scam. They target the poor.”

The search warrants were issued after a yearlong, multi-agency investigation into reports of illegal gambling. During the searches, officials seized more than $100,000 worth of equipment, including 200 computers. They also seized approximately $14,000 in cash. According to the Flagstaff Police Department, investigators have reason to believe the ring may have been conducting illegal gambling operations in multiple states all over the country.

The searches were carried out by the Northern Arizona Street Crimes Task Force and the FBI’s Safe Streets program, in partnership with the Flagstaff Police Department, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Public Safety’s Gang Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

So far, no suspects have been named and no criminal charges have been filed. The investigation is ongoing.

Michelle McManimon can be reached at MMcManimon@azdailysun.com or 556-2261.

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