Illegal gambling joint uncovered in Union City


Union City Police have discovered an illegal gambling and numbers operation called “La Bolita” being run out of a town business.

The minimum bet starts at a dollar and the maximum is $40.

You can place a bet of any three-digit combination: 123 for example, “straight or box” then get a piece of paper with the numbers betted on and the date the transaction was made.

The business is open seven days a week and at 7 p.m. they stop taking bets.

Winning numbers are based on the last three digits of the New York Pick 4 Lottery results.

A bookie known as “Cooke” handles the bets for customers, players and gamblers under the direction of a supervisor.

According to authorities — the two men, Fernando Barbeira, 78, of West New York and Jose Alvarez, 57, of Lyndhurst are the same people who were arrested a year ago by West New York Police for these types of crimes.

Barbeira, at Mr. Mango’s for promoting gambling and possession of gambling records.

Alvarez, at his home for alleged involvement with illegal gambling at Aaron Cafe.  He was charged with two counts of possession of gambling records and maintaining a gambling resort.

Also arrested in the Union City sting was Maximo Colmenero, 77, of West New York and Antonio Marulanda, 64, of North Bergen.

With the investigation ongoing, the police say there may be more gambling operations uncovered and arrests to be made.


  1. What? Some Dominos-cards?
    Back in the day spots like that would keep the ‘hood safe.
    Anyone causing trouble would be asked not to come back and they kept the block clean