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18 indicted in alleged gambling ring that used violence to collect

SAN DIEGO -- Eighteen members of a gambling ring that allegedly used the Internet and toll-free numbers to take sports bets and then violence to collect from losers were indicted Wednesday in San Diego.

The 18 suspects, most from San Diego and Los Angeles, are accused of taking millions of dollars in sports bets over the last decade for the Macho Sports operation that operated in Peru and California. Many of the bets involved wagers on NFL, NBA and Major-League Baseball games.

FBI agents Wednesday arrested 14 of the 18. Foreign law enforcement agents arrested one suspect in Oslo, Norway.

The FBI also served warrants seeking forfeiture of more than $5 million in property, including property in La Jolla, officials said.

Two brothers, Jan Harald Portocarrero, 40, of Los Angeles, and Erik Portocarrero, 42, of Lima, Peru, are accused of being the masterminds, using local bookies to recruit customers, pay off winners and collect from losers.

The brothers initially set up Macho Sports in Panama but fled to Peru after gambling arrests in the U.S., according to court documents.

Charges include racketeering conspiracy and running an illegal gambling business.

"Criminal enterprises like Macho Sports and their U.S.-based bookmakers prey on the gambling addictions of their betting customers, wreaking havoc on people's lives and the lives of family members," said Daphne Hearn, FBI special agent in charge of the San Diego office.


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