Jacksonville FOP Leaders Face Racketeering Charges

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Several people, including leaders of Jacksonville’s Fraternal Order of Police, are in custody following a multi-agency investigation into an estimated $300 million illegal gambling ring.

According to a law enforcement source, all Allied Veterans of the World cafes in the state of Florida have been shut down.

Many store managers, assistants and major owners of the 50 locations were arrested. 15 locations are on the First Coast.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are involved in the investigation.

The warrant originated out of the Western District of Oklahoma, but all Florida arrests came from an initiative in Seminole County, according to a law enforcement source.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5-30 President Nelson Cuba and FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas were allegedly taken into custody Tuesday and could possibly face charges of racketeering relating to the use of lottery machines in several Allied Veterans of the World Posts/Centers in Jacksonville.

According to law enforcement sources, Cuba and Feitas were taken into custody Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale on charges related to RICO gambling violations.

“That’s what’s going on here based on the allegations. Each person is doing something really small, but it’s coming back to something very big involving millions of dollars,” said Defense Attorney Richard Kuritz. “When you put it all together and charged with RICO, that could be a 30 year prison sentence in Florida.”

The Jacksonville FOP released a statement on the alleged arrests of Cuba and Freitas, saying in part: “It is important to point out that these are private dealings that have nothing to (do) with FOP business and the FOP possesses no information regarding the allegations against either of them.”

Cuba is a police officer with the JSO.

Freitas is currently a Lieutenant with the JSO and also heads up the annual Guns & Hoses fundraiser event.

JSO spokesperson Lauri-Ellen Smith said Sheriff John Rutherford will have a news conference at the appropriate time to discuss the operation.

From First Coast News