Alleged Gambling and Drug Operation Busted in Former Church in Koreatown


SWAT operatives discovered an illegal gambling operation in Koreatown, Los Angeles during a raid around 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

According to LA police, the activity was busted after SWAT acted on a search warrant served to a building located in the 200 block of N. Vermont Avenue. The site was formerly the Joomaum Church, ABC7 reports.


LAPD issued a search warrant for the building over reports that it was being used for illegal gambling activity. A SWAT team was called to the scene after the police found gambling machines, narcotics, and money.

When the officers arrived, most of the people inside refused to exit. Hot gas was used to clear the people out, with at least one man ended up stumbling out of the building. He was arrested along with at least 34 others that afternoon near the busy Koreatown intersection, according to FoxLA.


Los Angeles police spokeswoman Rosario Cervantes told the LA Times that officers launched a surveillance operation Friday afternoon before the arrests. Those not arrested were detained, questioned and released immediately.

While very little information about the Joomaum Church is available online, one website lists it as a corporation operating in the U.S. since 2011.

Initial reports alleged that the church was being used as a front for illegal activities but there has been no official word from the authorities that would implicate the organization to the crimes so far.

Featured image via Google Street View (March 2019)

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