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Federal authorities raid Los Angeles-area casino
April 4, 2017 / 8:02 PM / 8 months ago

Federal authorities raid Los Angeles-area casino

LOS ANGELES, April 4 (Reuters) - Federal agents from several agencies raided the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in a Los Angeles suburb on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation, forcing its temporary closure, officials said.

The operation in Bell Gardens, southeast of downtown Los Angeles, was conducted by the Los Angeles High Intensity Financial Crime task force and based on a federal warrant, U.S. law enforcement officials said in a statement.

Officials released few other details, saying they could not disclose the nature of the investigation because the warrant was filed under seal.

The team conducting the raid includes members of the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the California Bureau of Gambling Control, according to the statement.

“We are working with authorities and currently do not have additional information,” Becky Warren, a spokeswoman for the casino, said by phone. “As soon as the federal agents have completed their work we will be in full operation.”

In 1991, the federal government took over partial ownership of the Bicycle Casino, which opened in 1984, after a jury found $12 million of the $22 million used for its construction came from narcotics smuggling, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The U.S. government sold its ownership stake in 1996, and in late 2015, the casino expanded by opening a 99-room hotel.

The Bicycle has nearly 200 tables for poker and other card games and ranks as one of the largest employers in Bell Gardens. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Richard Chang)

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