Storm Lake Police have made 13 arrests to culminate a rare illegal gambling operation investigation in the city.
In June, a search warrant was executed at a home in the 500 block of Oates Street as part on an ongoing investigation. Police seized gambling records, items used for gambling, a safe, and over $10,000 in cash. Officers detained and questioned 11 people at the time, but released all of them pending further investigation.
On July 10, police returned and arrested one of the homeowners, Vinalanh Latsasombath, age 48 of Storm Lake, and charged him with Ongoing Criminal Conduct and Illegal Gaming and Betting, both felonies, and Keeping a Gambling House.
He was booked into the Buena Vista County Jail on a $2,000 cash bond.
On Monday, police arrested the second owner of the house, Khonsavahn Southiphong, age 52 of Storm Lake, and charged her with Keeping a Gambling House. She was booked into the county jail on a $2,000 cash bond.
On the afternoon and evening of Monday, July 20, Storm Lake Police arrested the following and charged each with Illegal Gambling:
Tin Xayyavong, age 40 of Storm Lake; Kep Promvongsa, age 43 of Storm Lake; Dee Senaphan, age 48 of Storm Lake; Vanh Sibounma, age 60 of Storm Lake; Ryan Baccam, age 48 of Storm Lake; Peter Khaoorn, age 42 of Storm Lake; Soth Ouanesisouk, age 27 of Storm Lake; Mountha Boulommavong, age 55 of Storm Lake; Thavone Navongsa, age 28 of Storm Lake; Noi Chaiyawon, age 39 of Storm Lake.
All of the subjects arrested were booked into the county jail on a $2,000 cash bond each.
In a statement Tuesday, police revealed that methamphetamine drugs packaged for street sale had been seized from one of the residents at the house during the original search. On Monday afternoon, Denison Police officers located suspect Vilayphone Sibounma, 39 of Storm Lake, at the Farmland plant in Denison. Storm Lake Police have charged him with Possession of Methamphetamine With Intent to Deliver, a felony, and Illegal gambling. He was transferred to Buena Vista County Jail on $52,000 bond Tuesday. The drug portion of the investigation is continuing.
The Storm Lake Police Department has been assisted in the case by the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the US Internal Revenue Service, and Iowa Department of Revenue.
The investigation is continuing.
Twelve of the 13 people arrested are natives of Laos or Laotian Americans, according to jail records, and had no prior local criminal records listed. The exception is Navongsa, who is a native of Tailand and has numerous previous drug-related arrests over the past several years.