Racketeering case making its way, slowly, to trial
In what has become a recurring theme in the ongoing prosecution of 11 Hells Angels members, court records reveal that the FBI investigated the still-unsolved disappearance of a Northern California man as part of a massive investigation into the outlaw biker club.
The 2016 disappearance of longtime Contra Costa County resident Art Carasis, 66, is now the third such missing persons case that authorities have acknowledged they investigated before obtaining a racketeering indictment against 11 Hells Angels in 2017. The other two are Robbie Huff, 34, of Fresno, and Joel Silva, a Sonoma County resident believed to have been shot and killed in 2014.
The three men share other commonalities: all were members of the Hells Angels, and all seemingly vanished in or near the Fresno area, where prosecutors claim Silva was murdered and illegally cremated.
Recent court filings — as well as a transcript obtained this week by this news organization — reveal that federal prosecutors considered introducing evidence involving the disappearances of Carasis and Huff as they prosecute the men they believe murdered Silva. Now they’re saying they won’t be the ones to raise the issue first.
“The only way I could see it coming in is if the defense brings it up,” assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Barry said of the Huff and Carasis evidence, at a March court hearing. He later added, “Again, the only way that the government sees it would be coming up is if they bring it up through cross-examination; through making an issue of it in some other way.”
Carasis — a longtime Contra Costa resident with known addresses in Richmond, Antioch, and Fresno — was reported missing out of Madera County, which borders on Fresno, in 2016, authorities said. Huff was reported missing out of Fresno County in 2015.
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