D.C. police and FBI agents have seized thousands of betting slips and other gambling paraphernalia in a series of raids over the last two months on two alleged gambling operations, including one reputedly operating out of a booth at O'Donnell's Sea Food Grill.
One of the rings grossed at least $1 million a year on a six-day-a-week numbers game, while the second - the one said to be headquartered at O'Donnell's - may have grossed $10 million a year on numbers, horse races and sports betting, according to Sgt. Bernard E. Emmert of the D.C. police gambling squad.
Evidence seized Tuesday in a dozen raids throughout the Washington area, including one at O'Donnell's at 1221 E St. NW, is now being presented to a federal grand jury here, according to law enforcement sources. Evidence confiscated in 19 raids on May 18 and four raids Monday in connection with the other alleged gambling operation is currently being analyzed by the FBI laboratory.
No arrests have been made in the cases so far, although law enforcement officials have identified several suspects in affidavits filed when they sought and won court authorization for the raids.
Undercover D.C. police gambling John J. Rooney identified Sammy Miller, 65, of 1809 Parkside Dr. N.W., as the head of the reputed operation at O'Donnell's.
In a separate affidavit, D.C. Det. Charles Orman said that Alvin Kotz, a 44-year-old convicted gambler and head of the Alco Construction Co., headed the other alleged ring.
According to various law enforcement sources, police raided O'Donnell's at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday and seized betting slips from Miller and a bartender at the sea food restaurant, Robert Lee Vluster, 50, of 8237 14th Ave., Hyattsville.
Police then told Miller that they had a search warrant for his home, including two safes he kept there. They gave him the option of accompanying police as they searched the home and safes or having them break in.
Police said Miller went with them and watched as police took $35,000 and alleged gambling records from the safes.
Police said nothing was found on a third man who was searched at the restaurant.
O'Donnell's general manager Roger Choquette immediately fired Vluster after the raid and told Miller, "We no longer care for his patronage," according to the restaurant's assistant treasurer, James Fields.
Fields said that Miller has frequented the restaurant for the past year of year-and-a-half.
Fields said restaurant officials were "absolutely not" aware of the reputed gambling operation.
Police said FBI agents seized another $10,000 at four locations in Prince George's and Montgomery counties and Alexandria in the Tuesday raids.
A total 3,629 phone calls were made into and out of an office at 1884 Columbia Rd. NW between May 22 and June 30 as part of the reputed Miller operation, according to the Michaels and Rooney affidavit. Normally, about 270 calls would be made from a telephone in a 40-day period, according to the affidavit.
Emmert said that an elaborate systrem was used in the two reputed numbers operations to arrive at the daily number operations to arrive at the daily number that the betting public wagers $1 to $10 it can predict.
Each day the gamblers computed the three-digit number by using the race results from whatever nearby horse track was currently operating, such as Bowie at the present time.
The total amounts of win, place and show money paid on a $2 betting ticket at the race track on the fourth and fifth races were added together. The first number left of the decimal point became the first digit in the daily illegal numbers game, Emmert said.
The second digit was computed the same way from the sixth and seventh races, and the last digit was figured from the eighth and ninth races, according to Emmert.
However, he said that some bettors in the illegal games opted to place a bet on a number and ask taht it be compared against the daily winning number in the legal Maryland state lottery game.