Agents of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, among agents from other federal agencies, executed a search warrant at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens, California. An ICE spokesperson said on Tuesday that a magistrate judge had issued the warrant, which was "filed under seal in relation to an ongoing investigation."
 
"Because the warrant is under seal, we are not able to comment on the scope or nature of the investigation," said Virginia Kice of ICE.
 
The investigation focused on whether Bicycle's gambling facility laundered cash illegally obtained, according to the Los Angeles Times. 
 
Members of the Los Angeles High-Intensity Financial Crime Area Task Force, which includes ICE's Homeland Security Investigations, IRS, California’s Bureau of Gambling Control, and the U.S. Attorney's Office also participated in the raid. 
 
Investigations officers from the federal Department of Homeland Security were seen active in the parking lot of the hotel at approximately 7 a.m. The casino was closed for the remainder of the day. In a written statement released by the Bicycle Hotel & Casino, “We are working with authorities and currently do not have additional information. As soon as the federal agents have completed their work, we will be in full operation."
 
Employees gathered outside the casino after the raid and expressed concern whether they would have a job after Tuesday. During the raid, all of the employees were ordered out of the facility. According to the Mexican newspaper, La Opinion, a female employee said that the business is very strict about documentation for employees regarding their immigration and work status. The woman said “They demand that we have our paperwork in order.” She added, “When they employ us here, they interview you and once they see that the Social Security number is good, they send us to Bell Gardens police, which is supposed to send over your criminal record.”


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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