Jacksonville, FL - We’re learning the First Coast has played a big role in Operation “Reveal the Deal”.
14 people from Northeast Florida have been arrested in relation to the investigation in the Allied Veterans of the World and internet gaming. Those suspects have been charged with RICO, racketeering, money laundering, keeping a gambling house, slot machines, lottery and others.
“We are going to exhaust all possible state and federal laws to dismantle this whole organization,” says Jacksonville Special Agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Dominick Pape.
Those arrested reside in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Atlantic Beach, St. Johns County, Hilliard and Fernandina Beach. One person also in Duval County Jail is a Sumter, SC resident.
Among those arrested in Jacksonville are what Sheriff John Rutherford calls two of the “key players” in this investigation. Allied Veterans National Commander Jerry Bass and Attorney Kelly Mathis are now in Seminole County Jail, although they are from Jacksonville. Pape believes most of these cases will eventually be tried in Seminole County or somewhere in Florida’s Middle District.
Two more notable Jacksonville names were actually under investigation independent of the investigation before law enforcement joined together.
Rutherford says he first began investigating a potential criminal enterprise in 2007. By September 2008, he became aware of potential criminal activity by Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba. In 2010, he tied Cuba not to that first enterprise, but a second one that surfaced. At that point investigators became confident of Cuba and FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas were operating shells that were affiliates of Allied Veterans of the World.
In July 2010, a US Attorney alerted Rutherford of Operation “Reveal the Deal” which was running simultaneous to his investigation. Jacksonville Police at that time joined their money laundering investigation with the other agencies, including Volusia and Seminole counties and federal agencies.
“Nobody’s above the law. If we get evidence, we go after them,” Rutherford says.
Rutherford says Cuba and Freitas have both gone on voluntary leave without pay. Because Cuba was closely tied with the Fraternal Order of Police, and in charge of their accounts, those books have been frozen.
The investigation covers 49 illegal gambling centers in 23 Florida counties and five other states. 57 arrest warrants have been issued in the case and more than 500 law enforcement officers have combined to investigate.
“The team effort and the merger has made this case one of the top cases that this state has seen in a long time,” says Pape.
Rutherford wants to make it clear that, especially with Cuba and Freitas, the investigation dealt with business and not their police activities. He says any officer facing allegations will be investigated. Further, he says there are no other JSO officers under investigation relating to this case.
That doesn’t mean there will not be more people caught in this investigation. Pape says this is just the beginning.