2014

32 Members and Associates of the Western Massachusetts Almighty Latin King Nation Charged with Drug Trafficking and Firearms Violations, Reports U.S. Attorney

    SPRINGFIELD, Mass., June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Federal and State charges were
 unsealed today against a total of 32 members and associates of the Almighty
 Latin King Nation operating in Western Massachusetts.
     United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Kenneth W. Kaiser Special
 Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New England; William
 Bennett, Hampden County District Attorney; Colonel Thomas G. Robbins,
 Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Paula Meara, Chief of the
 Springfield Police Department; Thomas E. Burke, Chief of the West Springfield
 Police Department; Anthony Scott, Chief of the Holyoke Police Department; John
 Ferraro, Chief of the Chicopee Police Department; and Michael A. Ashe, Hampden
 County Sheriff, announced today the unsealing of 18 federal indictments, 1
 federal complaint and 5 State court complaints, charging a total of 32
 individuals (27 federally and 5 State), who are members or associates of the
 Almighty Latin King Nation, with drug trafficking and/or firearms violations.
     The charges are the result of a joint effort among federal and local law
 enforcement agencies to dismantle the Almighty Latin King Nation, a violent
 street gang that has been entrenched in Western Massachusetts for more than
 ten years. In February 2004, the Western Massachusetts FBI Gang Task Force
 began focusing on the Latin King Organization. From May 2004 until April 2005,
 the Task Force orchestrated more than 40 purchases of crack cocaine or heroin
 from more than 30 Latin Kings or Latin King associates, in Springfield and
 Holyoke.  The investigation led to the recovery of 10 firearms from six
 different individuals.
     "Coordinated law enforcement efforts such as this have resulted in the
 dismantling of gangs operating in other parts of Massachusetts such as
 Lawrence and Boston," stated U.S. Attorney Sullivan. "Federal, state and local
 law enforcement will maintain a persistent presence in the cities of Western
 Massachusetts and will continue to do so as long as gangs attempt to establish
 themselves and conduct illegal activities involving drugs and violence. The
 U.S. Attorney's Office and its partners in law enforcement are committed to
 these types of community prosecutions which help make our neighborhoods safe
 for law abiding citizens."
     "Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are working together to
 focus on one of the major public safety issues in our community.  Targeting
 this group will have a direct impact on gun violence in Western
 Massachusetts," stated Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett.
     According to an affidavit filed in federal court, the defendants are
 either members or associates of the Latin Kings. According to the affidavit
 the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the Latin Kings is a structured criminal
 organization with over 100 members. The criminal activities of the gang
 include drug trafficking conspiracies (cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin), gun
 trafficking, and violent crime associated with these criminal activities.
     Formed in the 1960's in Chicago, with the stated purpose of organizing
 Hispanics dedicated to overcoming an "oppressive government" and uplifting all
 "Third World" people, the Latin Kings now have Regional and Local Chapters
 throughout the Eastern United States.  The Latin Kings adhere to a written
 code of laws called the "Manifesto" which governs the behavior of its members
 and are organized following a formal rank structure that is mirrored on
 national, regional and local levels. At each level, the leadership is
 comprised of a Supreme Crown Inca (commander), and an Executive Crown of
 officers consisting of a Carsique, (second in command), a Minister of Defense
 or enforcer (responsible for meting out punishment, waging war against rivals,
 and maintaining the gang's arsenal), a Treasurer (responsible for the
 collection of dues, tribute and fines and the maintenance of a common pool of
 money known as the "fundle" used to support concerted activities such as
 bailing members out of jail and purchasing weapons) and a Secretary
 (responsible for maintaining records and the administration of the gang's
 business).
 
     A total of 18 federal Indictments were returned charging the following
 individuals:
     Charged in the first Indictment are MICHAEL CECCHETELLI, age 25, of 109
 Oklahoma Street, Springfield, and CHARLES HOWARD, age 26, of 64 Bryant Street
 in Springfield. Both defendants are charged with 1 count of Conspiracy to in
 Deal in Firearms Without a License, 1 count of Dealing in Firearms Without a
 License, and 1 count of Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
 Additionally, CECCHETELLI, the alleged longtime leader or "Supreme Inca" of
 the Latin Kings in Western Massachusetts, is charged with 1 count of
 Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, and 1 count of Transfer of an
 Unregistered Firearm. If convicted, both defendants face maximum sentences of
 5 years in prison on the Conspiracy charge, 10 years in prison on the Felon in
 Possession Charge, and 5 years in prison on the Dealing in Firearms charge.
 CECCHETELLI also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on both the
 Possession of an Unregistered Firearm and Transfer of an Unregistered Firearm
 charges.
     Charged in the second Indictment are FELIX MORALES, age 24, of 190 Locust
 Street, Springfield, and NEFTALY ROSADO, age 21, of 40 Birch Street in Ludlow.
 Both defendants are charged with 1 count of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent
 to Distribute and Distribution of 5 grams or more of Crack Cocaine and 1 count
 of Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of 5 grams or more of
 Crack Cocaine. Additionally, MORALES, the alleged "Minister of Defense" of the
 Latin Kings in Springfield, is charged with 1 count of Being a Felon in
 Possession of a Firearm.  If convicted, the defendants face maximum sentences
 of 40 years in prison on both the Conspiracy charge and Possession with Intent
 to Distribute charges. MORALES also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in
 prison on the Felon in Possession Charge.
     Charged in the third Indictment are LUZ TORRES, age 32, of 188 Locust
 Street, Springfield; GABRIEL ORTIZ, age 32, of 23 Essex Street, Holyoke; and
 LUIS RIVERA, age 32, of 89 Commonwealth Avenue, Springfield. The defendants
 are all charged in 1 count with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to
 Distribute and Distribution of 5 grams or more of Crack Cocaine.  In addition,
 TORRES and ORTIZ are charged with 1 count of Possession with Intent to
 Distribute and Distribution of 5 grams or more Crack Cocaine. Also, TORRES and
 RIVERA are charged with 1 count of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to
 Distribute and Distribution of 5 grams or more Crack Cocaine; and 1 count of
 Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of 5 grams or more Crack
 Cocaine. Upon conviction, each of the Conspiracy charges carry a maximum
 sentence of 40 years in prison, and each of the Possession with Intent to
 Distribute and Distribution charges carry a maximum sentence of 40 years in
 prison.
     Charged in the fourth Indictment are DAVID VADDY, age 32 years old, of 675
 High Street, Holyoke; KELLY ARZATE, age 21, of 1475 High Street, Holyoke; and
 NICHOLAS DIAZ, age 24, of 912 Dwight Street, Holyoke. All three defendants are
 charged with 1 count of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and
 Distribution of 5 grams or more of Crack Cocaine, and 1 count of Possession
 with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of 5 grams or more of Crack
 Cocaine.  In addition, VADDY and ARZATE are each charged in separate counts
 with Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of 5 grams or more
 of Crack Cocaine. Upon conviction, the Conspiracy charge carries a maximum
 sentence of 40 years in prison, and each of the Possession with Intent to
 Distribute charges carry a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
     Charged in the fifth Indictment is ELIZABETH CORTES, age 29, of 34 Smith
 Street, Springfield. CORTES is charged with 1 count of Conspiracy to Possess
 with Intent to Distribute 5 grams or more of Crack Cocaine and 1 count of
 Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of 5 grams or more of
 Crack Cocaine. If convicted, CORTES faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in
 prison on both of the charges.
     Charged in the sixth Indictment are TITO RODRIGUEZ, age 18, of 20 Allen
 Street, Springfield, and NELSON SANCHEZ, age 20, of 27 High Street,
 Springfield. Both defendants are charged with 1 count of Distribution and
 Possession With Intent to Distribute 5 grams or more of Crack Cocaine.  If
 convicted of the charge, both defendants face a maximum sentence of 40 years
 in prison.
     Charged in the seventh Indictment are RICARDO DIAZ, age 20, of 51
 Allendale Street, Springfield, and CESAR CRUZ, age 32, of Hollywood Street,
 Springfield. Both defendants are charged with 1 count of Conspiracy to Possess
 with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Cocaine, and 1 count of
 Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Cocaine.  If
 convicted, both defendants face a maximum sentence of 40 years' imprisonment
 on the Conspiracy charge and 40 years in prison on the Distribution charge.
     The eighth Indictment charges JOSE CRUZ, age 32, of 135 Belmont Avenue,
 Springfield, with 1 count of Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. If
 convicted, CRUZ faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a
 maximum sentence of life in prison.
     The ninth Indictment charges JULIO MARIN, age 30, of 43 Central Street,
 Springfield, with 4 counts of Distribution and Possession with Intent to
 Distribute Crack Cocaine.  If convicted, MARIN faces a mandatory minimum
 sentence of 10 years up to a maximum life in prison on each of the charges.
     The tenth Indictment charges LUIS BIAGGI, age 21, of 540 South Street,
 Holyoke, with 1 count of Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution
 of 5 grams or more of Crack Cocaine. If convicted of the charge, BIAGGI faces
 a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
     The eleventh Indictment charges ENRIQUE GONZALEZ, age 25, of 65 Longhill
 Avenue, Springfield, with 1 count of Possession with Intent to Distribute and
 Distribution of 5 grams or more of Crack Cocaine, and 1 count of Possession
 with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Heroin.  If convicted, GONZALEZ
 faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison on each of the charges.
     The twelfth Indictment charges EDUARDO PAGAN, age 27, of 69 Longhill
 Avenue, with 3 counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute and Distribution
 of Crack Cocaine, and 1 count of Possession with Intent to Distribute and
 Distribution of Cocaine. If convicted, PAGAN faces a maximum sentence of 40
 years' imprisonment on each of the charges.
     The thirteenth Indictment charges DAVID RUIZ, age 29, of 86 Knollwood
 Street, Springfield with 1 count of Distribution and Possession with Intent to
 Distribute Crack Cocaine.  If convicted, RUIZ faces a maximum sentence of 40
 years in prison.
     The fourteenth Indictment charges JOSE ALICEA, age 18, of 61 Central
 Street, Springfield, with 2 counts of Distribution and Possession with Intent
 to Distribute Crack Cocaine. If convicted, ALICEA faces a maximum sentence of
 40 years in prison on each of the charges.
     The fifteenth Indictment charges JOSE RODRIGUEZ, age 23, of 118 Bloomfield
 Street, Springfield, with 2 counts of Distribution and Possession with Intent
 to Distribute 5 grams or more of Crack Cocaine. If convicted, RODRIGUEZ faces
 a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison on each of the charges.
     The sixteenth Indictment charges DANNY ROSS, age 29, of 60 Suffolk Street,
 Springfield, with 2 counts of Distribution and Possession with Intent to
 Distribute Crack Cocaine.  If convicted, ROSS faces a maximum sentence of 40
 years in prison on each of the charges.
     The seventeenth Indictment charges MICHAEL MARRERO, age 25, of 306 Oakland
 Street in Springfield, with Possession with Intent to Distribute and
 Distribution of Crack Cocaine. If convicted, MARRERO faces a maximum sentence
 of 40 years in prison.
     The eighteenth Indictment charges REGINO SANTIAGO, age 26, of 73
 Kinsington Street, Springfield, with Possession with Intent to Distribute and
 Distribution of 5 grams or more of Crack Cocaine.  If convicted, SANTIAGO
 faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
     Also, MIGUEL LOZADO, age 21, of 62 Pearl Street in Springfield, was
 charged in a criminal Complaint with Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
 If convicted, LOZADO faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison
 up to a maximum of life in prison.
 
     The following individuals were charged in State court:
 
     1. LUIS OTERO, age 26, of Central Street, Springfield, was charged in a
 complaint with 2 counts of Distribution of Cocaine. If convicted, OTERO faces
 a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years' imprisonment.
 
     2. JOSE OTERO, age 28, of Central Street, Springfield, was charged in a
 complaint with one count of distribution of cocaine. If convicted, OTERO faces
 a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years' imprisonment.
 
     3. JOSE VARGAS, age 26, of Spring Street, Springfield, was charged in a
 complaint with 2 counts of distribution of cocaine.  If convicted, VARGAS
 faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years' imprisonment.
 
     4. NORMAN ANDINO, age 24, of Springfield, was charged in a complaint with
 1 count of Distribution of Cocaine in a School Zone.  If convicted, ANDINO
 faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years' imprisonment.
 
     5. AURORA MARIN-PEREZ, age 32, of Central Street, Springfield, was charged
 in a complaint with 1 count of Distribution of Cocaine. If convicted, MARIN-
 PEREZ faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years' imprisonment.
 
     This investigation was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime
 Drug Enforcement Task Force ("OCDETF").  The OCDETF Program is a combined
 effort by numerous federal agencies dedicated to the investigation and
 prosecution of the most serious drug offenders in the District of
 Massachusetts.  This case was investigated by the FBI's Western Massachusetts
 Gang Task Force, consisting of law enforcement personnel from the Federal
 Bureau of Investigation, the Massachusetts State Police, the Springfield, West
 Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee Police Departments, and the Hampden County
 Sheriff's Office. The FBI's Gang Task Force was assisted by the U.S. Marshals
 Service, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the
 Hampden County District Attorney's Office.  The federal cases will be
 prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Smyth and Todd Newhouse in
 Sullivan's Springfield Office. The State cases will be prosecuted by Assistant
 District Attorneys in the Hampden County District Attorney's Office.
     The details contained in the Indictments and complaints are allegations.
 The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty
 beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
 
 

SOURCE U.S. Attorney

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

 

PR Newswire Membership

Fill out a PR Newswire membership form or contact us at (888) 776-0942.

Learn about PR Newswire services

Request more information about PR Newswire products and services or call us at (888) 776-0942.