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Multi-Agency Raids Target Bay Area Card Clubs

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Artichoke Joe's, casino, card club, raid, police

State and federal agents outside Artichoke Joe’s Casino in San Bruno, March 2, 2011.

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS/BCN) – Federal and state authorities executed search and arrest warrants at Bay Area card clubs Wednesday morning as part of an investigation into organized crime in the region, an FBI spokeswoman said.

Agents with the FBI, the DEA, the U.S. Attorney’s office, IRS, and the California Department of Justice served search and arrest warrants at a number of locations throughout the Bay Area.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

The Oaks Card Club at 4097 San Pablo Ave. in Emeryville and Artichoke Joe’s at 659 Huntington Ave. in San Bruno were among the places where the activity occurred.

“(The investigation) is basically Bay Area-wide,” FBI spokeswoman Julianne Sohn said. “We’re executing multiple arrest and search warrants.”

At the Oaks Card Club, there were no arrests but employees were isolated and players were forced to set down their cards.

“It was a little scary and upsetting,” said Richard Moore, who was playing at the time. “I think everyone was more upset that they couldn’t continue to play cards. Once we knew it wasn’t for us, everyone felt a little bit more relieved.”

Heavily-armed agents came in with automatic weapons to search records and interview employees for any signs of illegal gambling.

The Oaks Card Club has been a popular gaming spot in the East Bay since 1895, before Emeryville was incorporated, according to its website.

The club was originally called Conger’s Tavern. It became Oaks Card Club in the mid-1930s and has been owned and run by the same family since then.

The club, which has 40 gaming tables, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the site said.

Artichoke Joe’s has been a family-owned business since 1916.  Originally Joe’s Pool Parlor, it became Artichoke Joe’s in 1921 and now has 38 gaming tables and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, according to its website.

KCBS Radio’s Bob Melrose reports

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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