Five Santa Clarita Valley men arrested, then extradited, to New York a year ago following the crackdown of an alleged illegal $32 million nationwide sports betting ring are back in California and believed to be living in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The five men arrested in an early morning raid Oct. 28, 2015, were among 17 suspects across the country indicted that day by a Queens County grand jury on charges of unlawfully operating a highly sophisticated sports gambling enterprise that stretched from New York to California and used offshore-based gambling websites.
In March, each of the five suspects from Santa Clarita Valley pleaded not guilty in New York to the criminal charges against them, a spokesman for the Queens County District Attorney’s Office told The Signal.
Each of the defendants posted bail and were released from custody with no stipulation that they remain in New York, and ordered to appear in court Oct. 19.
On Wednesday, each of the five were represented in court by their respective lawyers.
“The defendants’ appearances were excused from attending yesterday’s court appearance and will be excused next time at the request of their attorneys,” Kevin R. Ryan, spokesman for the Queens County District Attorney’s Office told The Signal Thursday.
“The cases were all adjourned to November 17th for decision on motions,” Ryan said.
“At the time of their arraignment (in January), all of the defendants were permitted by the court to return to California from New York,” he said.
Only one of the accused men, 38-year-old Cyrus Irani, described by prosecutors as the kingpin in the online gambling operation was given conditions upon his release from custody.
“Defendant Cyrus Irani has an electronic monitor to verify his location,” Ryan said.
According to the grand jury indictment handed down a year ago, the online gambling enterprise, which is alleged to have booked more than $32 million in bets annually, is also accused of laundering its criminal proceeds by depositing and withdrawing large sums of cash from various banks throughout the United States.
Members of a multi-agency police operation led by New York Police Department investigators surrounded Irani’s Saugus home on Oct. 28, 2015, and arrested him.
The other four accused men are: Andres Arriaga, 42, and Jeffrey Metelitz, 55, both of Valencia; Julio Alvarenga, 41, of Saugus and Jeffrey Metelitz, 55, of Valencia.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt