Leader of Gambling Organization Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

The US Justice Department announced this past week the sentencing of Long Ngoc Tran, 42, to six years in prison for his role in running dozens of illegal gambling dens thoughout the San Diego, California area.  Law enforcement was able to show that these dens fostered drug trafficking, violent crime, and gang activity.  Tran oversaw at least nine such gambling dens, mostly inside commercial businesses and residential homes.  The probe, begun in 2019, was dubbed "Marble Lion".


Law enforcement found that the electronic gambling machines which were programmed with several games of chance such as poker, blackjack, keno, jacks or better, and slot games and provided customers the opportunity to play for real money 24 hours a day. Investigators also learned that these illegal gambling dens were drug involved premises, commonly involving methamphetamine use and sales, as well as other drugs, which were sold by both employees and independent drug dealers.

Authorities first took notice of an increased frequency of violent crimes occurring in and around the area where these illicit businesses were operating back in 2015.  Crimes included robberies, shootings, stabbings, and assaults. Investigators learned that the patrons were often gang members, career criminals, habitual drug users, and fugitives.

On April 9, 2021, Tran was indicted for Conspiracy to Operate an Illegal Gambling Business and Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises; in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; Operating an Illegal Gambling Business; in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1955; and Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises; in violation of 21.  He entered his guilty plea last July.

During his sentencing, United States District Court Judge Marilyn Huff brought up Tran’s prior conviction in 2015 for operating or maintaining a drug house.

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