Internet cafes in Enfield, Bloomfield raided; 1 arrest made - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Internet cafes in Enfield, Bloomfield raided; 1 arrest made

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ENFIELD, CT (WFSB) -

One person was arrested in connection with illegal gambling after two Internet cafes in Connecticut were raided Tuesday morning.

The Connecticut State Police Organized Crime Investigative Task Force executed a search warrant at the Mouse Pad Business Center and Tech Solutions, which is located at 483 Enfield St., around 11 a.m. 

The Mouse Pad Business Center, which is supposedly a computer repair store, allows its customers to participate in "sweepstakes contest." People can purchase Internet time to play casino-style games with the chance of winning money.

The owners of these businesses argue they're running a sweepstakes, which would be legal. However, police said the Mouse Pad appears to be violating the Connecticut General Statute in regards to online gambling by having this "sweepstakes contest."

"It is anticipated that criminal arrests will be forthcoming," said Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance. "But as we speak right now, this is an open, active criminal investigation."

During the raid at the Mouse Pad, more than 200 items were seized.

The Bloomfield Business Center, which advertises its sweepstakes games, is also in the center of a police investigation into illegal gambling.

Bloomfield police arrested 32-year-old Derieka Henry, of Manchester, in connection with illegal gambling at the Bloomfield Business Center and its storage units on Old Windsor Road.

Henry, who was released on a $2,500 bond, was charged with a second-degree breach of peace and interfering with police.

The Bloomfield Business Center was closed on Tuesday afternoon when Eyewitness News visited it.

Police said the investigation into the Bloomfield Business Center is ongoing, but it was not clear if any more arrests would be made.

"The raids carried out today by the State Police send a clear message that these parasitic sweepstakes gambling dens are not welcome in Connecticut," state Sen. Dante Bartolomeo said in a statement Tuesday.

Bartolomeo has submitted a bill to help stop the sweepstakes games from being operated in Connecticut.

"I hope that legislative action taken alongside the work being done by state police will run the sweepstakes cafés out of Connecticut before they take root any further in our communities," Bartolomeo said.

To read the full bill being submitted by Bartolomeo, click here.

For the customers of the Internet cafes, they told Eyewitness News now that the quick option for a gaming fix is gone, they'll be returning to the established locations.

"(I'm) going to the Mohegan (Sun Casino), (it) is better," said customer Harry Tai, who added that he did not know that the "sweepstakes contest" could be illegal.

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