Operation “Dirty Play” – Youth Football Gambling Ring Arrested
Society seems to rarely surprise me but the recent reports of a massive investigation into a gambling ring revolving around several youth football leagues did catch me off guard. The sheer stupidity of those involved, who continued to place large amounts of money on several sporting events after ESPN’s Outside The Lines had a report in 2011 highlighting gambling in south Florida youth football games. That report was about some of the gentlemen who were eventually arrested by Broward County’s Money Laundering Task Force earlier this week.
In total 9 men were arrested after an 18 month investigation: Brandon Bivens (Coach/President, Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes), Darren Brown (Coach, Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes), Vincent Gray (Coach, Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes), Brandon Lewis (Affiliate, Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes), Brad Parker (Affiliate, Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes), La Taurus Fort (Coach, NW Broward Raiders), Willie Tindal (Coach, NW Broward Raiders), Darron Bostic (Coach, Deerfield Beach Rattlers), Dave Small (Coach, Lauderhill Lions).
7 of the 9 were head coaches or assistant coaches, while the other 2 were close affiliates to the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes. Brandon Bivens was the head coach and President of the Fort Lauderdale ‘Canes despite a lengthy criminal record with 6 prior felony convictions. 6 of the 9 men are ex-convicts with previous felony convictions for drugs, assaul and theft. How do guys with records like that become the role models and coaches of our youth? A background check is pretty easy with some simple computer skills, an internet connection and a couple bucks. Are our kids not worth following such easy safety precautions?
Bivens has been painted as the ringleader of a deep gambling ring that took bets on these youth football games as well as other professional sporting events. The investigation was lead towards the Red Carpet Kutz Barbershop by a confidential informant who gave details about how the procedures took place. The point spreads for the youth games were set at the barbershop which was merely a front for Bivens gambling ring. The location had no consistent barbering business despite several barber stations set up in the front of the business. With help from a confidential informant Detective Solomon Barnes was able to establish that there had been a gambling room established in the rear of the building. The C.I. was issued marked currency from the Broward County Police Department to be utilized to place bets.
The bets ranged from anywhere between five and ten dollars to 10 or 20,000 dollar bets but the C.I. never placed a wager larger than $300. Last year there was over 100,000 dollars bet on the “youth super bowl”. Broward County’s C.I. observed “the pot” grow in excess of six digits and he advised that coaches within the Deerfield Packer-Rattler youth football team were actively placing wagers against the opposing team. Whenever anyone entered the back room they would be provided with a line sheet that detailed the spreads on which games were eligible for gambling on. Once a wager was placed the gambler would be given a betting receipt which was titled “Broward Fantasy League” and was redeemable at four different stations, with Red Carpet Kutz Barbershop acting as the headquarters.
The 9 men arrested have all been charged with felony bookmaking, while some others were charged with keeping a gambling house. The investigation deemed “Operation Dirty Play” was a success and has a direct correlation to the OTL program documenting gambling and drug sales at South Florida youth league football games. Of course Broward County rewarded ESPN by allowing Outside The Lines to record their pre-raid meeting, all of the arrests and give them the first chance to probe these alleged criminals.