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Police raid on E. Pike: Gambling bust? – UPDATE

UPDATE – 1:27 PM: Not a lot of new information though the Slog has now caught wind of the story and added some unattributed information about a resident of the building being ‘involved’ in running a ‘card room’ in the past. Oh and they also have the time of the bust wrong. But we can’t talk given we reversed the number of women vs. men busted in the original post.

More info about the building. It’s owned and managed by Capitol Hill developer Anne Michelson. She is also developing the 1111 E. Pike project up the street. Businesses in the location include the Wild Rose, Houthouse Spa & Sauna and the apartment units above.

UPDATE – 8:57 AM: CHS spoke with SPD’s head of media relations Sgt. Sean Whitcomb who said he could not clarify the nature of the search warrant or the arrests as the situation is part of an “ongoing investigation” and detectives are still processing evidence collected during the raid. If we don’t learn more in the meantime, some light will be revealed when the affidavit required for the department to get the search warrant comes through the county court system in the next few days.

Original Report – 8:37 AM: Seattle Times seems to be hot on the tracks of vice squad raids as they happen these days. They’ve got the scoop on a big bust that went down on Pike last night:

The Seattle Police Department’s vice unit raided a Capitol Hill establishment early Thursday, arresting more than a dozen people while executing a search warrant as part of an ongoing investigation.

A commanding officer on the scene declined to comment on the raid, referring questions to a department spokesman.

At 12:37 a.m., several police cars, including a SWAT vehicle, blocked a section of 11th Avenue just south of East Pike Street. Police entered a unit in a building on the southwest corner that also houses the Wildrose Bar and The Hot House, a spa. An officer announced over a loudspeaker that police were there to serve a search warrant.

Times report says two women and 13 men were escorted from the below-street level unit in zip-tie handcuffs and loaded onto a bus serving as a temporary holding cell.

One person at the scene said those arrested were playing poker.  Another eyewitness the Times quotes said, “I know this is no whore spot and I know it’s no crack spot. This is a bit much,” he told a reporter as he surveyed the scene. “People are going to jail — good people with good jobs.”

As of 8:44 AM, Seattle Police Department had not released a statement on the arrests on their SPDBlotter Blog.

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9 thoughts on “Police raid on E. Pike: Gambling bust? – UPDATE

  1. Those people play POKER. They buy in for $20 at a time to play with. I hardly see that as a threat to my well being.

    THANK YOU SPD for WASTING my tax dollars! Why don’t you go do something useful like fix the ongoing rape/theft/MURDER problems around the UW? As a student I would feel much safer.

    For gods sake… POKER!?

  2. Gotta agree with the basic sentiment – though I do know that organized crim/gangs sometimes involve themselves/run poker/gambling. Which led to Seattle’s second worst mass murder incident back in early 90s I think.

  3. What a botch of the use of any police time …. poker is the rage …. there are hundreds of games around the area with a few bucks on the table …. such a waste of MY MONEY … as taxpayer.

    No new cars and bad coffee … shame on the cops.

  4. My Sources (at the muni court and at Anne Michelson properties) are telling me that he was busted on drug charges. Running a poker game as a non-profit “friendly game” is -legal- in Washington state, and this might have been a private room that charges money to play… however this is apparently irrelevant (or was the excuse for the raid) I don’t think that you can get in a whole lot of trouble for just the gambling charge. The Tenant was arraigned today, I’m guessing the other players won’t face any charges.

  5. Actually, the undercover was put on the job to investigate illegal gambling (and taking a percentage of pots in poker is illegal). But once they found out that they were paying a good undercover officer to bust poker games with 25 cent and 50 cent blinds, they started fishing for other charges. The alleged operator of the gambling knew a drug dealer, who the undercover asked to meet. Once introduced the undercover and the dealer (not the operator of the speakeasies) worked out a huge meth/coke deal and the operator was present. This is not organized crime, it is not a “drug ring,” the officer pushed this and I hope that the dealer does go to jail, but the speakeasies are innocuous and harmless.