Backyard volleyball gambling ring busted up in Massachusetts

Two people were arrested in Massachusetts when police broke up a gambling ring they say revolved around backyard volleyball games around town.

Cops seized roughly $10,000 from a Saturday event they believe to have been a part of a front for a larger business tantamount to an outdoor casino chain, according to the Milford Daily News. Police claim those operations include table gambling and the unlicensed selling of cigarettes and booze.

“This is all being done in residential areas in backyards,” Deputy Police Chief Robert Tusino told the outlet.

When the Milford Police Department served a search warrant at 21 Franklin Street, they claimed to have found a concession stand that served food and was fueled by illegal electrical wiring.

City officials put together a task force four months ago to investigate complaints of alleged gambling operations. Select Board Chair Paul Mazzuchelli, who helped launch that initiative, said some homes hosting volleyball events appear to have paved their backyards to create parking lots where loud music and bright lights turn every weekend into “an excess of everything.”

He believed the gambling operations in Milford may have been going on for years.

“They have stadium lighting that would put Fenway Park to shame,” according to Mazzuchelli.

Deputy Police Chief Robert Tusino estimates those operations generate “hundreds of thousands of dollars” annually, saying “officers have witnessed the exchange of money.”

The events are reportedly billed as friends-and-family gatherings. But Tusino calls the operations “significant.”

Law enforcement used undercover operations and drones in their investigations. One of the people arrested over the weekend was 43-year-old Luis Loja-Caguana, who was twice fined for hosting parties during COVID-19 lockdowns, according to the Milford Daily News. He owned the property that was searched Saturday.

A woman allegedly selling beer at the event was also taken into custody. Both suspects are slated to appear in Milford District Court Friday.