An internet cafe in a neighboring community was raided by police for what was labeled illegal online gambling. A notice was posted reporting that property seized could be a part of an “unlawful gambling operation.”
Milpitas police executed the search warrant and seized a large number of computers. Officers also questioned a number of patrons in the parking lot. Seven individuals were then arrested for “various on-view charges” that was said to be unrelated to the warrant.
What are called “sweepstakes cafes” has prompted litigation in a number of states. These cafes are accused of trying to get around gambling laws by claiming to only charge patrons for internet time. However, the cafes are accused of providing users access to video slot machines through a software server. California’s Bureau of Gaming Control had released an advisory stating that these sweepstakes cafes were illegal under our state’s law.
We don’t know why a warrant was issued concerning this matter. We also don’t know why so many patrons were arrested in the parking lot. In any event, anyone charged with a crime is entitled to a fair hearing and representation by a qualified attorney. We need to understand what was going on before any determination can be made whether there was criminal wrongdoing or whether the arrests were lawful.
We will likely see more cybercrime arrests of this type due to the prevalence of the internet. But while surveillance on the part of law enforcement officers has increased concerning internet use, so have concerns regarding invasion of privacy. Just like any other crime, the burden of proof is upon the arresting officers and prosecuting attorneys to demonstrate there is enough to go on to gain a conviction.
Source: NBC Bay Area, “Police Raid Milpitas Internet Cafe for ‘Unlawful Gambling’,” Monte Francis, May 8, 2014