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Danbury bodega owners charged in alleged illegal gambling operation

Two Danbury men has been arrested for their role in an alleged illegal gambling operation. 

State Police charged 41-year old Nilo Espinal and 43-year old Cesar Vasquez illegal professional gambling, illegal possession of gambling devices and illegal operation of a gambling premises.  The State Police Organized Crime Task Force has been investigating multiple bodegas throughout Connecticut operating under the organized direction of several individuals. 

The arrests were made late last month, though search warrants were executed at Torres Grocery on Wildman Street and Pollas Supermarket on Main Street in February.  Troopers had a confidential informant complete a number of controlled gambling wagers. 

The pair were released on bond for appearances in Danbury Superior Court on January 5th. 

During the search of Torres Grocery, police found more than $74,000 in cash rubber banded together with names and amounts written on torn pieces of paper--“pay-outs” from winnings.  According to the arrest warrant, Espinal told police the money for was a program he initiated with residents who frequent his store.  From Pollas Supermarket, police seized a shotgun, multiple passports, ledgers documenting what is believed to be evidence of loan sharking and $192,476 in US currency.

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Jim Bohannon

Local Headlines