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30 San Jose Coffee Shops Subject of 2-Year Illegal Gambling Investigation

Vietnamese coffee shop in gambling ring

Ozone Espresso was identified as one of the shops involved in the ring.

Vietnamese coffee shops in and around San Jose, Calif., have been targeted by police in a two-year investigation into illegal gambling.

Eight people were arrested Nov. 21 in connection with the ring, in which prosecutors say known gang associate Lennie Luan Le was also extorting some coffee shop owners by forcing them to buy a certain type of machine and then collecting half the gambling revenue, according to information collected by the San Jose Mercury News during a recent court hearing.

Only three coffee shops were cited in the latest hearing, although undercover agents made direct contact with operators in some 30 shops while investigators collected over two years of wiretaps. Numerous Vietnamese coffee shops in the San Jose area have long been recognized as little more than strip clubs, with waitresses in various states of undress making big tips for primarily male customers. It is not known how many, if any, of those shops may be connected with this case.

The next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 16.

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