SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A federal grand jury in San Francisco has charged 15 people with committing racketeering, extortionate extension of credit and narcotics offenses at and through two Bay Area casino card clubs, Artichoke Joe’s Casino in San Bruno and Oaks Card Club in Emeryville.

The indictment follows an approximately two-year investigation of the two casinos led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Federal officials raided the clubs as part of the investigation early Wednesday morning, arresting 14 of the 15 defendants.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

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They also executed more than twenty search warrants throughout the Bay Area, seizing several hundred thousand dollars in cash and thousands of dollars worth of casino gambling chips, jewelry and other valuables, along with several pounds of narcotics and numerous firearms.

Over the past three years, the defendants allegedly used their ties to the gambling establishments to engage in drug-dealing and loan-sharking. The indictment stated that loan sharks lent customers money and then charged 10-percent interest per week until the loan was repaid.

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