SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A Santa Ana SWAT team raided an internet cafe early Thursday evening.
Many people were walked out of Happy Time Cyber Internet Cafe in what was a surprise operation by Santa Ana SWAT.
Dozens were detained but in all eight are now on their way to jail for narcotics violations and outstanding warrants.
Officers swarmed the 17th Street business looking for criminals and illegal activity.
Police say complaints from the community is what prompted the raid. They want gangsters and guns off the streets.
“It’s a lot safer for the kids to be walking around in this neighborhood and it was out of control here,” said German Camacho.
Camacho lives in the neighborhood. He said neighbors complained for months about the illegal activity and armed gang members inside the internet cafe.
In the last 10 days police would show up.
“Every time they came here they would take people with guns all the time,” said Camacho.
SWAT members in armored cars pulled up and made announcements for everyone inside to come out.
They broke out a window and then went in to flush the place out.
It is now up to detectives to follow up on those people’s backgrounds and whether there are guns, drugs or other evidence inside.
On Thursday night under police protection crews boarded up the cafe, removing massive arcade machines.
“I’m just so happy. Our neighborhood will be so much safer now,” said a neighbor who didn’t want to give her name. “This should have been done a long time ago.”
She said the business was illegal and turned the neighborhood upside down, littering it with condoms and hypodermic needles.
This summer she walked inside to see for herself what was going on.
“I saw drugs. I saw a pawn shop in the back corner that was full of laptops and computers and the crime rate in my neighborhood has skyrocketed since this place has been here,” she said.
She started an online forum and organized meetings with the city council, police and neighbors.
“There’s prostitution. There’s guns. There’s drugs. There’s illegal gambling 24-7,” she said.
Police have confirmed that what they pulled out of the business are illegal gaming machines.
They say that in the past couple of weeks undercover officers have made arrests for narcotics violations, grand theft auto and armed documented gang members.