Million Dollar Gambling Bust at Eden Center

Chief Reitze and Task Force Members (Photo by Barbara Gordon)

Falls Church Times Staff

August 12, 2011

Falls Church City Police, in conjunction with members of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, yesterday confiscated over $1 million in cash and 70 gambling devices valued at $200,000 in a raid at the Eden Center (6751 Wilson Blvd.).  Arlington and Fairfax County officers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also participated in the investigation.

Police served felony search warrants at 13 restaurants and made numerous arrests during the raid, dubbed Operation Aces and Eights.  One warrant was served in Fairfax County.

Nineteen people were charged with various misdemeanor offenses including gambling, fireworks, and ABC violations.  Several felony arrests are pending.

Task Force members announced the results of the raid this morning at a briefing on the City Hall steps.  According to Chief Harry Reitze, FCPD first received reports of illegal gambling activity at the Center in 2010.  The Task Force was called in late that year to penetrate the operation.

“Yesterday’s arrests and property seizures will help stem the flow of money that often funds other illegal activity in the region,” said Reitze.  The investigation of criminal gang activity in the region is continuing, he said, and more arrests are pending.

Task Force commander, Lt. Dan Hess of  Prince William County, described the gambling devices, which were in plain sight, as resembling entertainment machines, but with a slot off to the side.  Hess said that the activity was controlled by a primarily Vietnamese-American gang known as the Dragon family and that its actions had “paralyzed the Eden Center community.”  He stated that a number of business owners and patrons thanked the police officers who were conducting the raid.

Chief Reitze said that the Eden Center has long had “a checkered reputation.”  Over the years it has been the site of both petty and serious crimes, such as assaults, robberies, extortion, narcotics sales, and homicides, mostly gang-related.

Officials observed that gangs have “long tentacles” and that they are capable of quickly shifting their operations from one jurisdiction to another, thus a regional approach to the problem is essential.   Chief Reitze acknowledged that City police could not have conducted the operation on their own.

Joe Price, Chairman of the Gang Task Force and Chief of the Leesburg Police Department, said Thursday’s raid was another significant milestone in the Task Force’s efforts to combat gang crime and to reduce the influence of gangs in the Northern Virginia region.  He said the Task Force has focused not only on enforcement but also prevention and intervention.

Teen-agers are especially vulnerable to gangs, as both victims and recruits.  Therefore, the  Task Force works with local organizations in efforts to mentor those at risk.  In Falls Church City, mentoring sessions for middle school students are held Thursday afternoons after school at the Community Center.

Businesses Raided – Search warrants for illegal gambling were served Thursday at the following Eden Center establishments:

Café Nho
Café Ha
Café Nha Trang
Café H20
Café Le Mirage
Café Quan 7 Lo
Café Bay 11
Café De Paris
Café Dang
Café Hoanh Qanh
Café Gio
Café Hai Lua
Café Vv – 6779

The Regional Gang Task Force – The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force was initially funded with a 2003 Department of Justice Appropriations Bill. It is a multi-jurisdictional partnership comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to address gang activity in Northern Virginia. The Board of Directors of the Gang Task Force are Chief Law Enforcement Officers of the following jurisdictions.

Arlington County
City of Alexandria
Town of Dumfries
City of Fairfax
Fairfax County
City of Falls Church
Fauquier County
Town of Herndon
Town of Leesburg
Loudoun County
Manassas City
Manassas Park
Prince William County
Town of Vienna
Virginia State Police
Town of Warrenton

Aces and Eights –  According to American legend, the Dead Man’s Hand was the pair Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot in the back in a saloon at Deadwood, SD in 1876.

August 12, 2011 


31 Responses to “Million Dollar Gambling Bust at Eden Center”

  1. William Barratt, Shanghai on August 12th, 2011 9:38 pm

    First the incessant smoking violations, now this! I guess it’s a slippery slope.

  2. Dabby Mac on August 13th, 2011 11:26 am

    All “cafe’s” must get raided. The Italian Cafe is next then rough up the kids in the Clay Cafe, too. You thought they’re making pots, they’re really coin holders for illegal slots and chip holders for illegal high stakes poker nights for their grandparents. Get em, boys.

    One question, how did over 10 non-asian men infiltrate a normally localized vietnamese enclave in the Eden Center?

  3. Phuong Tran on August 15th, 2011 8:40 am


    I knew this news because I was there when this happened. However, gamgling is every where not just in Eden Center, and gambling in Eden Center has been a long time, why you guys take actions at now. You guys should take action long before, right !

  4. David smith on August 15th, 2011 8:56 am

    Do you know why they gamble? Because without gamble they can’t survive, the rent in Eden Center is highest rate in Virginia, too high. They can’t pay rent if they don’t do gamble. But the Landlord never helps these business, as the result they have no choice but play gamble. Fairfac county should help Vietnamese community by talk to Landlord to reduce the rent. In Eden Center, one small coffe shop has to pay over $4000.00/ month………………

  5. M D on August 15th, 2011 4:15 pm

    David Smith, is right! How else do small shops survive? Rent is at least $4k/mo-$12k/mo. They definitely should do something about the monthly rent.

  6. Sam spree on August 16th, 2011 7:13 am

    Too bad if the rent in the Eden Center is too high. I could care less if they go out of business or close it down. I am more worried about the other, professional non ethnic businesses that served the entire community like Nolands Plumbing Supply House that we lost a few years back. All the Eden Center contributed to my life was a snarl of traffic as some of the WORST drivers ever issued a VA license navigate in and out of the center. Learn to drive and show some common courtesy to the citizens who came before you and respect our law and community.

  7. Geoge Brommer on August 16th, 2011 8:34 am

    It’s well known that the Eden shopping center is a center for gang and drug activity and illegal “late” night / after hours joints. The entire place needs to be cleaned up big time

  8. David Smith on August 16th, 2011 8:51 am

    Everyone should believe me, because I have a lot of friends in Eden Center and I go there almost everyday. As you know, there are 13 bars and coffee shops in Eden Center. For the Cafe Dang, he is my friend, and he has to pay over $9000/month……..How can you imagine that one coffe shop pays over nine thousand a month? He told me he has no choice because one cup of cafe or one glass of smoothie is just about $5.00 dollar, how many cup of coffee and smoothie can be served a day? . As a result, the only thing he thinks about is gamble( actually, there are some kind of slot machines and people put money in there and play it )………….
    Of gambling, it is every where in this country. There is no difference between Eden Center and Atlantic City of Las Vegas, the only thing is that gambling is not allowed in Virginia.

    So, we should do some thing to help the Vietnamese community. I agree with Sam that there some worst drivers there, but do not see this as a big deal, because acident happens everyday and every where just because we have worst drivers every where.
    There isn’t always enough parking space in Eden Center, this is one of reasons that Eden Center is kind of over load especially on weekends. The problem is from Landlord, and Fairfax County should see this. I don’t know why Fairfax County doesn’t take any action on parking issue of Eden Center ????

  9. Nhi Tran Alexandria on August 16th, 2011 10:54 am

    So i went back to Cafe Dang yesterday with a friend. The owner came out and greeted us with a sad face. “Do you see anything missing?” he asked. I told him that I heard about it.

    I’ve been to Cafe Dang since 2000. Beside drinking Coffee and watching sport shows, my friends and I also play 11 Ups, Photo Hunters or some other video games to see who has the highest score. I’ve seen these video game machines at almost every other bar. (Yes, most of these coffee shops have about 2 game machines which they use for gambling purposes, the rest are for people like me to play game, and some p[eople who unlucky enough to play those kiddie games that day will go to court **what a joke**

    Well, this has nothing to do with Dragon Family (i’m sure about this and i don;t know why Police dont) and i don;t think they got more than 1 Million dollars because most of them had about 2-10Ks max at the shop. Who’s smart enough to leave at least 100k in cash at a coffee shop where the waitresses have the authority to walk anywhere or open every little cabinet.

    This is a small community and words are spreading pretty quickly. I heard most of these from friends (who have friends that lost $).

    Over all, I think the gang task did a great job on getting those gambling machines out of our community. But i don;t think this will make Eden any safer. Like i said, most of those machines are gaming machines and i love 11 Ups 🙂 They shouldn;t arrested those people who played on those regular machines. If the Police was so sure about this then they should known which machine was for gambling purposes.

    Those Business Owners depend on those gaming machines to help them pay the rents because a small unit like Cafe Dang pays up to $10K in rent. Or else the police should take away those gaming machines from other pool halls and bars. 🙂

  10. David Smith on August 16th, 2011 12:17 pm

    I agree with Nhi Tran, Police should be sure which machine is for gambling and which is for fun. I know that Police also get cash from onwer’s walet. That’s terrible.

  11. Geoge Brommer on August 16th, 2011 1:50 pm

    Every business has a choice – If you can’t pay the rent, then MOVE somewhere where you can!

  12. TFC on August 16th, 2011 3:50 pm

    Eden Center is in the City…tax dollars come to the City from business there.

  13. Tran Alexandria on August 16th, 2011 3:55 pm

    Chief Reitze said that the Eden Center has long had “a checkered reputation.” Over the years it has been the site of both petty and serious crimes, such as assaults, robberies, extortion, narcotics sales, and homicides, mostly gang-related.

    We have to go back to Eden 10 years ago or more. People were afraid to go to Eden, there were shootings, and other serious crimes. Eden used to be a place for gang activities but it is a place for people to dine out or to get a bubble tea now. It’s crowded than ever. I see more women walk around Eden than men.
    Another thing, i see more gangs from High School than Adults. Most of high school kids got together and made a name for themselves. You don;t see a Dragon Fly or ADF member that went to Thomas Edison; a IT member that went to JEB Stuart. Most of these people who used to call themselves DF ADF or IT, etc are graduated from Colleges or have children. The bad ones went to prisons already.

    Instead of concentrating on DF, the gang task should concentrate on those individuals who rent out the gaming machines to the shop owners. The owners don;t own those machines. I’m pretty sure some of the owners gave the polices information about the one who rentd out those machines.

  14. David Smith on August 16th, 2011 8:55 pm

    I agree with TFC, Eden Center brings much dollar for the city. But some police don’t recognize this, the businesses in Eden Center used to support Police but when something happens the police not really come there right way, it’s sad. As a result, people over there don’t support police any longer.
    I am sure that the gambling machines are not from Dragon Family, they belong to some of organizations but not Dragon Family. the Vietnamese community should look for another place to do business, because in Eden Center the rent is too high and CAM is not really clear.

  15. michael tran on August 16th, 2011 10:17 pm

    the police is after the MONEY only!!!! whatever they confiscated, they get to keep them. Seriously, it’s been like more than 15 years, they raided so many times and what happened? either shut them down or have them pay tax, but NO, still let them do businesses, and bc it’s a task gang unit leaded the operation, so they have to put it on a Gang…so many gangs out there, and all they can think of is DF? really? If the police is going to make up some good stuffs, better make it sound better than this, i can say that i go there very often and i know Dragon Family is not even around anymore, they all have jobs, families, kids now, we all know POLICE IS AFTER THE BIG MONEY, after the budget cut. there are big crimes around the area also from all other gangs, drugs, robberies, etc….why after the illegal gambles? bc IT HAS BIG MONEY, Last time the police raided the center, they took all the money and LED LCD TVs, computers from those Cafe shops. its so obvious. Maybe the police is the gang, w/ guns and laws that only protect and apply to them only, no one else!!!! ALL these confiscated items, and misdemeanor charges? really? Last time i was at this Breaker sport bar in Herndon, they have like 5 of the same machine, will the police raid the place too? Mostly all the sport bars around the area have that. Why dont they raid them places? Please!!!!

  16. David Smith on August 17th, 2011 2:53 pm

    I agree with Michael Tran
    It is just about the money, nothing else.

  17. Hwan Kim Fairfax on August 17th, 2011 3:08 pm

    Plain and simple: these are the rotten apples of the barrel, the members of the Dragon family.

  18. Neil on August 17th, 2011 8:33 pm

    I investigated already, there is no gangs named Dragon family. I don’t know where the hec police get this name from !

  19. Nice Guy of Fairfax on August 20th, 2011 9:08 am

    I am Vietnamese too and have a sister in law who works in the Eden center. David Smith? Your English is pretty bad for an Irish guy. The Eden Center does NOT bring in money for Fairfax County because most of these places do not honestly pay their fair share of taxes. I make a six figure salary and drive a beat up Chevy. I pay taxes out of my 4$$ and have no money to buy a house or a new car. Have you seen the types of cars these business owners drive? I am sure they own multiple houses as well. Eden Center is not the only location you need to be to run your own business. If the rent is too high, go to other locations. Four Sisters restaurant moved to a different location and they are doing very well. We are very blessed to be living in this great country with well established laws and order. Follow the law and pay your taxes. Our taxes paved the road that you drive on, keep the road and street clean, provide security for your neighborhood, and provide education for your children. I am tired of paying taxes for you all.

  20. Ugly Guy on August 20th, 2011 8:52 pm

    “It’s not how much money you make but how you spend your money”
    Nice guy needs to look at your expenses.
    My parents came here without a penny. My dad made $11/hr and my mom made 9$/hr. They bought a 200Ks house and 2 new cars after 4 years, in 2000. We have 5 cars and all paid off. They’re paying off their house in 3-4 more years.
    My brother was 18 and bought a 33Ks car and paid off in 2 years. He’s 25, and bought a house back in Feb and planning to get another one. he’s making around 50-60Ks.
    They all pay taxes.
    Vietnamese are smart with their money. I can’t imagine myself making that much $ and still broke.

    start out with this book:
    *Rich Dad and Poor dad*
    This is one of the books will help you to gain your financial IQ 🙂

    *Good English or Bad English* isn;t important but how you use it.

  21. David Smith on August 21st, 2011 8:34 am

    This is not the place to say English bad or good, this place for comment about the crime in Eden Center. I believe every owner in Eden Center pay their taxes fairly. I am proud of them that Vietnamese have just come to this country not too long compare to another communities, but they develop very fast. Nice Guy, you have told people that you couldn’t buy a house or even a new car, that’s because you don’t know how to save money, you’re making six figure, that is a lots. You don’t learn the lesson that Vietnamese learn when they come to this country, if you want to buy a car, the only thing that you have to do is to save money, it’s plain and simple.
    Back to the crime in Eden Center, after the raid, the businesses in Eden Center are kind of slow, and it takes a lot times to recover.

  22. Troy T. Arlington on August 26th, 2011 8:19 pm

    What would have really been good is to read that they had busted all the gang leaders that were behind all of this. As it is, they bust a bunch of business owners that were likely coherced into allowing their locations to be used for this, leaving a landlord that extorts their portion by charging outrageous amounts of rent, gang leaders that will move their activity elsewhere, and a community without a center that is tailored towards thier needs. Oh, and contrary to some of the above comments, you cannot just pick up and move your business to a new center. The landlord will come after you.

  23. David Smith on August 27th, 2011 10:48 am

    The CAM is not really clear in Eden Center, the cost of rent is too high, the parking spaces are not enough for about 120 businesses.

  24. Buck Futter Arlington, VA on August 29th, 2011 12:10 am

    I can’t believe the crap I’m reading– the point being made over and over by these nitwits posting is that these guys need to do illegal business to pay the rent. In this country, we have something called capitalism, driven by supply and demand. If these guys can’t pay the rent, they shouldn’t be in business… businesses will leave, and rents will come down. The government doesn’t need to get involved in setting rent rates. As a result, some of these owners may need to get out of their Mercedes and gold jewelry to make ends meet. There are plenty of guys running coffee shops without slot machines. Comparing it to Atlantic City is retarded– that is regulated and taxed– not the same as the Eden Center, moron. A million dollars is a lot of cash to be seized, so I really don’t want to hear about how hard these guys are working to make ends meet either. If you want communism, move these businesses back to Vietnam and so we can level the center for a Wal-Mart.

  25. David Smith on September 1st, 2011 10:38 am

    he he Buck Futter,

    Sounds like a little angry you’re….. what you say means that you don’t understand much about the Eden Center. Go there and study it, then you will know.

  26. BILL WILL CHESTER on September 5th, 2011 11:13 am

    Since everything in walmart is made in china you still have communist products.
    And low pay for the employees who probably will speak English as a second language.

  27. Vic N., Fairfax on September 17th, 2011 10:03 pm

    What I know, from trustworthy sources, is that the raid happened, and they arrested many people, collected money without reporting it, and the amount was over 1 mill. is a lie. An officer name Khan came to harassed business owners at Eden Center often, and arrested others with alleged crimes that they did not commit, i.e. Mr. Frank H Do was cuffed and arrested after using his phone to record the officer harassed a business owner, even though the officer told him it is not a crime to video recorded the incident, but then arrested him for “being drunk in public” without even a test. After the court date during this past week, 4 people were found NOT GUILTY with the bogus charges made by the officers, and the 1 guy was found guilty because he had some left over fireworks from July 4th. Just wait and see, there will be a public apology from the Poice Department to the Vietnamese community in NOVA. It’s fine if they raided the center due to some “gang’s crimes” but DF all graduated and settled down. DF is Old News. Now, the Vietnamese community there isn’t afraid of “gang” but more afraid of “policemen” because they took advantage of their power and harassed people that didn’t know the law or barely spoke English. It’s a country with well established laws, yet, these A.Holes still exist to make all our lives miserable. After this incident, are we going to trust the cops? Or just believe that they don’t give a damn because we’re Asian? I agree that many Asian, Vietnamese included, have illegal activities and don’t pay as much tax as they should, but please also keep in mind that NOT EVERYONE IS LIKE THAT!

  28. Vic N., Fairfax on September 17th, 2011 11:58 pm

    Also, please refer to local Washington Post website for update on the bust and court’s rulings.

  29. David Smith on September 18th, 2011 8:37 am

    Yes, I agree with Vic N.

    It may be many Vietnamese people don’t know the laws and barely speak English. The police forces over used their tasks, also they discriminated Vietnamese. Because they look Vietnamese as those who just came to this country and get successful so fast. Vietnamese just came in this country not so long.

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