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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fall River Gang Leader Sentenced To 22 Years

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BOSTON – Following his conviction on drug and weapons charges, an armed career criminal affiliated with the Bloods street gang was sentenced today to 22 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV sentenced Ernesto Monell, 35, of Fall River, to 262 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In December 2013, a jury convicted Monell of possessing a firearm and ammunition and possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute. In 2012, Monell was arrested after officers executed a search warrant at his apartment where they found him barricaded alone holding a pistol. Officers subsequently found ammunition, as well as 37 rocks of crack cocaine, drug scales, and other drug paraphernalia.

Monell, a lifelong violent criminal, has 11 felony convictions, including five involving violence or firearms. Monell, who is affiliated with the Bloods, obstructed justice on two occasions during the trial. First, he was caught on tape attempting to convince his former girlfriend to falsely testify that the drugs and guns found at the apartment belonged to her, telling her “you gotta do you now because if you don’t do it, I’m done.” When she refused to take the rap for him, Monell moved on to what he called “Plan B”: convincing a fellow gang disciple, who is serving 9-10 years in state prison for attempted murder, to falsely testify on Monell’s behalf.

Explaining the imposed sentence, Judge Saylor noted that society needs to be protected from violent criminals and gang members such as Monell. Judge Saylor also noted that, since he has been detained in connection with this case, Monell has been involved with additional violent incidents in prison, including a gang-related prison riot in Rhode Island which has resulted in a separate federal conviction. Judge Saylor also found that Monell’s obstruction of justice warranted a serious prison sentence.

“This sentence mirrors the Justice Department’s commitment to removing dangerous, violent criminals from the streets,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “Individuals who possess firearms, sell illegal drugs and threaten community safety will be held responsible for their criminal activity.”

“Dangerous criminal offenders instill fear through intimidation and the use of violence,” said Special Agent in Charge Daniel J. Kumor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive’s Boston Field Division. “ATF’s priority is combating violent crime and removing those dangerous offenders from the communities on which they prey.”

U.S. Attorney Ortiz and SAC Kumor made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David S. Schumacher of Ortiz’s Health Care Fraud Unit and Glenn A. MacKinlay of Ortiz’s Strike Force Unit.