They never found Jimmy Hoffa on his tip, nonetheless it earned him his freedom. Convicted drug dealer Don Wells, 89, died of natural causes last week in Detroit, 13 years after his debriefing with the FBI sent agents scurrying to dig up the former farm of a Hoffa ally-turned-enemy in search of his remains.
No traces of the slain labor union boss were unearthed in the 2006 dig at Hidden Dreams Ranch in Commerce Township, Michigan. Wells still walked free early from a prison term he was serving for narcotics trafficking.
Legendary investigative reporter and author Dan Moldea, the undisputed Godfather of Hoffa research, broke the news of Wells’ passing on his blog and social media accounts. Moldea personally interviewed Wells on several occasions.
The murder mystery surrounding the kidnapping and execution of Jimmy Hoffa is the single most enduring unsolved crime in American history. Nobody has ever been arrested in the case.
Hoffa disappeared on the afternoon of July 30, 1975 from a Bloomfield Township, Michigan restaurant parking lot on his way to a meeting with Detroit mafia street boss Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone and New Jersey mobster Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano. He was hoping to secure Tony Pro’s support in his bid to win back the Teamsters union presidency, a post Hoffa had relinquished in 1970 as a means of getting a prison sentence for bribery and fraud commuted by the Nixon White House.
Hoffa’s desire to reclaim power in the union was met by resistance from his one-time benefactors in the mob. The crime lords that had installed him in the job in 1957 made it clear they didn’t want him to return.
In the year leading up to his murder, Hoffa became the target of a mob-funded goon squad looking to dissuade him from running in the union’s 1976 election by way of violence and intimidation tactics. The leader of the anti-Hoffa enforcement crew was Rolland (Big Mac) McMaster, a notorious Teamsters thug and mafia associate who had been Hoffa’s personal strong arm for years when he headed the union.
McMaster owned the Hidden Dreams Ranch in the 1970s and at the time Hoffa was killed, Don Wells was living on the property. Wells told the FBI he saw “suspicious activity” on the ranch in the hours after Hoffa went missing and a hole being dug in the north section of the property in the days preceding Hoffa’s murder. He went on to pass a polygraph exam and cut a deal with the Feds.
For a whole week in May 2006, FBI agents and Michigan State Police scoured the property, spending $6,000,000 and removing a barn in order to dig under. Nothing was found. McMaster died shortly after the search of his former farm.
Wells claimed to have run into Tony Provenzano as he dined with McMaster at Carl’s Chophouse in Detroit the night before Hoffa vanished. Carl’s Chophouse was a favorite of Tony Giacalone and a frequent meeting spot for Motor City wiseguys in the 1970s. Giacalone was Hoffa’s longtime contact in the mafia and married to a cousin of Provenzano’s.
This article was originally posted here