Police Say They Broke Up Illegal Gambling Ring

The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force ends a months-long investigation at the Eden Center.

A police task force seized more than $1 million in a gambling raid on businesses at the Eden Center, a predominantly Vietnamese shopping district in Falls Church, investigators said Friday.

Members of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force arrested several members of the Dragon Family, a predominantly Vietnamese gang, police said.

"The Dragon Family has been long established in the Eden Center," said Lt. Dan Hess, lead commander of the task force. "There were numerous arrests last night, most of those were misdemeanor arrests. There are approximately 20 felony arrests pending. There have been stabbings, shootings, extortion."

Complaints about the Eden Center started in 2010, said Col. Harry Reitze, Falls Church Police chief.

"Our department attempted on several occasions to investigate and penetrate several locations at the Eden Center, but we were unsuccessful. The nature and scope of the problem were beyond our resources," Reitze said at a news conference at City Hall.

He then asked the task force — a multijurisdictional partnership comprising local, state and federal law enforcement agencies — to investigate. 

The gambling machines seized were worth nearly $200,000, police said. The names of the businesses involved in the raid were not released. In addition to the Eden Center, another business close by in Fairfax County was also raided, police said.

One individual reported to police that he had lost more than $100,000 from gambling with the machines, which appeared to be entertainment gaming machines, but were equipped with concealed money slot compartments.

Police said the investigation continues, which meant some details remained undisclosed. But investigators said they believe the arrests will significantly disrupt gang activity throughout the region.

"The community [is] very intimidated by the presence of these gangsters," Hess said. "Last night, before we had all the search warrants secured, we had business owners and patrons of the Eden Center coming up and thanking the detectives, saying finally, thank you. They were afraid to go into certain areas of the Eden Center, it definitely had a significant impact on the community."

Nhi Tran August 14, 2011 at 01:30 AM
They don't even know what they're talking about. There's no such a gang at Eden center. (chop my head off if they can name the leader of the Dragon Family, bc the DF is no longer exist) It;s just some individuals who came up with the idea of setting up some gambling machines to get some extra money to pay rent. I know its illegal but it;s not that bad like the article has mentioned. It's 80% safer than 10 years ago. And the guy who lost 100ks, he must be retarded, should send him to jail for being stupid. Dont gamble at the first place.
pimp August 14, 2011 at 03:08 AM
I was sitting at one of the cafes during the raid and let me tell you somethings. The police forced me to line up and took the picture of me as i am a criminal or being under arrested. The police ' attitudes during the raid intimidated me more than the gangsters and i dont see any gangster at all, they even took 1700 bucks from my friend just because he was happened to be at one of the coffee shop during the raid. The police are the real criminals here.
Laurie Dodd August 15, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Patch should consider removing the prior post, which names an individual and makes serious allegations against him. I do not know this man, but I do not believe this should be a place to make possibly defamatory statements about someone who is not present to defend himself. If you have facts against him, perhaps you should take them to the police.
David Smith September 17, 2011 at 12:36 PM
The police lied.
David Smith September 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM
Never believe what the forces say about Eden Center, that's wrong.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »