Police in Canada just returned for a second bite at the Hells Angels in an illegal gambling probe — with fresh raids, arrests, more charges and grabbing another $24-million worth of assets. The Mob Reporter here with hot-off-the-press news of a police operation targeting Hells Angels members and alleged associates in Southern Ontario.
Last December, the Ontario Provincial Police unveiled Project Hobart, a joint agency probe aimed at ending an illegal sports betting and gambling enterprise investigators say was run by three members and one prospect member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Codenamed Project Hobart, it saw 28 people charged, including bikers and men linked to a Mafia clan. At the time, police seized or restrained $12-million worth of real estate, luxury and vintage automobiles, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, cash, gold and silver bars and jewelry.
Today, July 30, 2020, police announced Project Hobart — Part 2.
Four search warrants were executed on July 29, 2020, on properties in London, Oakville, Toronto, Welland and Thornbury. Police walked away with another $24 million worth of assets. There were three homes and a vacation property; eight vehicles including sports cars, a vintage car, and a Harley-Davidson motorbike; and the assets of three land development companies, including building lots in the Collingwood resort area, one of which has a $7-million newly built house on it.
They also found more than $82,000 in Canadian dollars and U$ 25,000 in US dollars along with some pot and magic mushrooms, worth an estimated $67,000. Four new people were arrested in the probe, facing charges of gangsterism, bookmaking, proceeds of crime, money laundering and tax evasion.
One of the alleged bosses of the operation, well-known Hells Angel Robert Barletta, who was arrested and pulled off an airplane at Toronto airport last time, was re-arrested and served fresh charges of money laundering and fraud against the Government of Canada, for alleged tax evasion.
This more bad news for Barletta, the 50-year-old dubbed the “Teflon Biker” because charges against him didn’t stick. He became a full-patch member of the Hells Angels in Toronto in 2002 and then became a founding member of the London chapter in 2003. According to evidence filed at a provincial tribunal, Barletta served as president of the London chapter at least until 2008 and remained a member afterwards. I’ll be watching to see if he has the same success this time around.
Canada - MR.