FBI agents assisted by other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies fanned out across the Bay Area on Wednesday morning in a series of raids involving organized gangs, gambling, loan sharking and money laundering.
The FBI in conjunction with the U.S. attorney's office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the IRS and the state Justice Department's Bureau of Gambling Control was executing arrest and search warrants with the help of local law enforcement agencies.
Authorities raided more than dozen locations throughout the Bay Area, including the Oaks Card Club in Emeryville and Artichoke Joe's in San Bruno. Authorities had arrest warrants for more than a dozen people. It is believed some arrests have been made.
Authorities were looking for people, documents and other evidence related to illegal activities. The FBI and other agencies had been doing this investigation for about two years.
One of those present at the Oaks Card Club when the raid happened was Don Ramos, 35, of South San Francisco, who said he came there with a friend who wanted to gamble and also to get the free breakfast.
Ramos, who said it was his first time at the club, estimated there were about 200 people present when dozens of FBI agents and police officers, some carrying assault rifles, came in just after 6 a.m.
"They were saying they had search warrants to search the place, but they did not say why," Ramos said.
He said that all the people inside, employees and guests alike, were searched by authorities and that they there were not allowed to leave until their identities were confirmed and it was determined they had no outstanding warrants.
Ramos said he did not see anyone arrested.
Ramos said he never expected anything like this to happen on his first visit to the club.
"It's a shocking experience. I won't forget March 2," he said, adding that he does not plan to return to the club.
We will bring you updates as more information becomes available.