Gang’s Modus Operandi and Arrest
A criminal gang in Spain had been manipulating electronic roulette games in gambling halls throughout the country using a modified drill and wire. However, their successful run has now been halted. A coordinated effort involving Interpol resulted in the arrest of four individuals who have been stealing from casinos nationwide.
Spain’s National Police and the Basque Region’s Ertzaintza police force have successfully shut down the group, making several arrests associated with theft of €417,000 (US$468,082) over three months through gaming table manipulation. Specifically, four individuals were arrested, three in Madrid and one in Malaga, while another two are under investigation in Bilbao. This crackdown is the result of a six-month-long investigation that extended to Austria.
The Role of Interpol and the Gang’s Operations
Interpol played a significant role in the success of these arrests. The criminal group had allegedly been operating for years in Spain and perhaps across Europe. Interpol already had several active red notices for some of those involved.
The group followed a specific strategy when committing their scams. They scouted the target premises, such as casinos, slot parlors, or other venues, assessing the layout and security to identify those with more relaxed policies. They used fake IDs to gain entry. Once inside, each member had an assigned role, with two or three distracting the property’s employees while another member manipulated the machine.
The individual assigned to the machine drilled a hole in the dome and inserted a metal object like a wire or semi-rigid rod. This allowed him to force the ball to stop rotating on a specific number where he had already placed his bet.
End of the Gang’s Operation
The group’s operation spanned just the past three months, but investigators believe they are the same individuals responsible for similar crimes at other casinos across Europe. Interpol was involved in the investigation due to the group’s alleged international operations. They face accusations of a similar scam at an Austrian casino that earned them €117,000 (US$131,332), and other investigations are still underway.
The gang had been able to operate for years without being caught, although the full extent of their activity remains unknown. Most gambling venues tend not to publicize their vulnerabilities, indicating many cases may have gone unreported.