More charges laid against Londoner in multi-million dollar gambling ring

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A London man alleged to be a member of the Hells Angels, is facing additional charges in connection with a massive multi-million dollar gambling ring that was broken up last December.

Provincial police raided 12 more locations in London, Oakville, Toronto, Pickering, Welland and Thornbury on Wednesday as their nearly three-year investigation, called Operation Hobart, continues. Police seized three homes, one vacant property, eight vehicles (including sports cars, vintage cars and a Harley Davidson motorcycle), financial assets of three property development companies, and $108,000 in cash. A large quantity of Psilocybin and marijuana, valued at $66,986, was also found by police.

The total value of the seizure is $24-million, according to OPP.

As a result, eight people were arrested. Among them was Robert Barletta, 50, of London, an alleged member of the Hells Angels.

He is now charged with laundering proceeds of crime, fraud over $5,000, and possession property obtained by crime over $5,000.

These charges are in addition to those laid against Barletta in December of last year when 18 police agencies closed in on the illegal gaming enterprise said to be operated by members of known criminal organizations. At that time, 28 people were charged with 228 offences and police seized or restrained $12-million worth of homes, cars, cash, gold and silver bars, and jewellery.

The investigation involved five illegal gambling websites that brought in about $13 million in revenue in 2019 and likely $131-million over the past five years. The website names are Ultimate SB, Titan SB, PlaytoWin SB, Privada SB, and Players SB. The illegal gambling ring was also linked to the Figliomeni crime family.

A second Londoner was also arrested and charged following Thursday’s raids. David English, 38, is charged with book-making control, record, and engage, commission of offence for criminal organization, possession of a Schedule III substance for the purpose of trafficking, and possessing cannabis for the purpose of selling.

“Police and our partner agencies are again demonstrating that we are relentless in our pursuit of criminal organizations and their leaders, their associates and their criminal lifestyle, ensuring the safety of our communities,” OPP Chief Superintendent Kari Dart said in a statement.