3 El Sobrante residents arrested
Benicia police broke up an illegal gambling operation Thursday, according to a news release.
The Benicia Police Department had partnered with the California Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control for a four-month investigation into an alleged illegal gambling business operating in the 2000 block of Columbus Parkway. The business, known as Albiz, used computers that ran slot machine-style games. On Google, Albiz is listed as an “office supply store.” However, a closer look uncovered more than just computers. Benicia police detectives and Department of Justice agents arrested three individuals and seized weapons, methamphetamines, drug paraphernalia, scales, illegal gambling equipment and cash.
Michael Phillips, Cynthia Powell, and Kenneth Nielsen– all from El Sobrante– were arrested. Phillips, 21, was arrested on suspicion of bookmaking, possessing an illegal gambling device, conspiracy, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammo. Cynthia Powell, 57, was arrested on suspicion of bookmaking, possession of an illegal gambling device, conspiracy, perjury, possession of a firearm and controlled substance, unlawful possession of ammo, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance for sales. Kenneth Nielsen, 64, was charged on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammo.
“The Benicia Police Department is proud of this investigation and partnership between the two agencies, and is grateful for the California Department of Justice assistance in the case,” the department said in a statement. “We take the safety of our community very seriously, and we are glad to be able to arrest those who target and victimize our community members.”
The investigation remains ongoing, according to the release.