East-side raids target illegal street gambling

A dozen people arrested

rifle, 3 handguns seized

November 01, 2003|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

City police officers flooded East Baltimore last night, making several arrests in an initiative designed to cut down on illegal street gambling.

By 10 p.m., officers had arrested about a dozen people and confiscated a rifle and three handguns, said Maj. Michael Andrew, commander of the Eastern District.

"These crap games have really driven the violence over in the Eastern District, at least during the last 28 days or so," Andrew said. "There's a lot of violence that's associated with these darn crap games. A lot of these younger kids get involved, lose their money to the older guys, then run home, get guns and come back and [shoot] up the game. A lot of times it's unfortunate bystanders who get shot."

About 50 officers, including some in plainclothes, worked the gambling initiative last night, Andrew said.

But not all of the arrests involved illegal betting.

An officer working the gambling initiative spotted a man in an alley on East Oliver Street dragging another man by his shirt collar and pointing a gun to his head, Andrew said.

When the assailant saw the officer, he let go of the man, threw away the handgun and jumped into a nearby van, which sped off. The van was later stopped on East Monument Street, and three people inside it were arrested, Andrew said.

"We possibly stopped a homicide, or at least a serious shooting," Andrew said.

He said it's hard to measure the success of initiatives like the one his officers undertook last night, but he felt good about their efforts.

"We've taken off three games tonight already," Andrew said. "The violence associated with these games is nothing to take lightly. We're having some success with getting it [illegal gambling] off the streets and busting up these games."

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