Casinos across the nation have certainly earned their reputation as houses of vice, where sinners and criminals congregate over shady dealings and mutual bad habits. Unfortunately, a common mistake many ill-intentioned casino patrons make is to assume that they can live in this world of vice unsupervised.
Salman Choudhary stepped inside of Dover Down’s Hotel & Casino one of many times over the course of a few months, and, as he usually did, plugged oodles of cash into the slot machines. Before the beginning of what was known as Operation Duck Hunt, Dover Casino CEO Ed Sutor did not consider it his prerogative to monitor Choudhary, no matter how much money the man was shoving into the slot machines—that is, until the Department of Homeland Security saw how much cash Choudhary was throwing around, and decided to investigate.
When a player plugs more than $10,000 into one gambling establishment in a single day, a casino mus file a Currency Transaction Report. Choudhary’s mistake was to become a regular at Dover Downs, doing little to disguise how much cash he had on his person at any one time. Ultimately, his behavior forced the establishment to submit multiple CTR forms for review by their state regulators. The Delaware State Police Department didn’t have to perform much work to realize that this was a likely money laundering case.
Money laundering via casino is by no means a new, or smart, tactic, but that didn’t stop Choudhary. Ultimately, Choudhary’s lack of originality was the thing that pinned both himself, and his criminal cohorts. Police tracked him not only at Dover Downs, but also at Harrington Raceway and Casino and found that not only was this a painfully obvious laundering scheme, but that it also linked to something larger.
The investigation that ultimately stretched out to two years before its conclusion became known as Operation Duck Hunt. Through uncovering Choudhary and his illict schemes, police also uncovered the heroin ring he was connected to. Ultimately, Choudhary was brought to face eight criminal charges and was indicted and arrested with leader Deangelo McGlotten, and McGlotten’s right-hand-men, Timothy Felix and Adrian Coverdale.
While all suspects have been indicted, three remain at large: 26 year old O’Brien Morris of Millsboro, who has seven criminal charges including money laundering and organized crime; 27 year old Luis Manzanet-Garlaza of Milford, who has four criminal charges including conspiracy and racketeering; 30 year old Reginald McGlotten of Millsboro, with seven criminal charges also including money laundering and racketeering.
As of January 13th, 2016, Operation Duck Hunt has resulted in the seizure of:
- 42,250 bags/633 grams of heroin
- One stolen 9mm handgun
- One Marlin 30-30 rifle
As of May 11th, 2016, the state of Delaware ended up seizing:
- 1,116 grams of heroin
- $200,000 cash, including assets seized from other accounts
- Around $50,000 in jewelry
- 3 more 9mm Ruger handguns
- One Raven Arms .25mm handgun
- One M4 Carbine Rifle
- 23 personal cars, with a total value of $230,000
The Delaware state forces involved include the Delaware State Police Sussex Drug Unit, or SDU, the Division of Gaming Enforcement, special units of the Delaware State Police Department including their Intelligence Unit and the Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex Drug Units, among other high performing and impressive law enforcement organizations.
The federal agencies involved in this investigation include, of course, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, The National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, and the United States Homeland Security Investigations Unit.
Smaller, local departments involved in this enormously successful bust include the Smyrna Police Department, the Dover Police Department, the Seaford Police Department, the Delaware Division of Revenue’s Criminal Investigative Unit, and, of course, the Dover Downs Casino and Hotel Surveillance Unit.
Operation Duck Hunt has made a tremendous and unprecedented positive impact in the availability of heroin on the streets of Delaware. The fabulous investigative skills demonstrated by the state police force as well as the federal agents should be a warning to any dealer in the country: One can only win bets on the drug trade for so long before the house takes its cut.