BOSTON - A Lawrence gang member pleaded guilty today to illegally possessing a firearm and 84 rounds of ammunition.
Orlando Valle, 26, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton. The maximum sentence under the statute is 10 years in prison, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2013.
On Nov. 21, 2011, troopers with the Massachusetts State Police, detectives with the Lawrence Police Department, and an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives went to 282 Farnham Street in Lawrence to arrest Valle on an outstanding warrant. In the process of arresting Valle, one of the officers saw a black handgun on a heater in the defendant’s bedroom. Lawrence detectives obtained a search warrant and seized a .22 caliber firearm; 84 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition; mail, bills, and other documents showing Valle lived in the apartment; a written constitution for the Immortal Outlaws street gang; and several cellular telephones. Lawrence detectives later recovered several photographs of Valle holding firearms, including a photograph of Valle holding what appeared to be the gun found in his bedroom. The Lawrence Police Department had previously identified Valle as a member of the Immortal Outlaws, a violent street gang operating in Lawrence and elsewhere.
“This conviction should send a clear message that law enforcement officials are working together, and are focused on violent offenders and firearm crime,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “I commend the investigators and prosecutors whose persistence and hard work resulted in the removal of a known gang member from the streets of Lawrence.”
Chief John Romero of the Lawrence Police Department said, “This conviction of a well-known Lawrence gang member will send a strong message: we will not tolerate illegal gun possession and gun violence in Lawrence. We will continue to work to end gun violence in Lawrence by targeting those who possess, sell, and or use illegal guns.”
The case against Valle commenced with state charges brought by Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett following Valle’s arrest in Lawrence and was then referred for federal prosecution.
This case was one of several federal prosecutions brought in the past year targeting violent crime in Lawrence committed by gang members, armed kidnapping and home invasion crews, large-scale drug traffickers, and others. These cases have been investigated by a working group of federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, ATF, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Massachusetts State Police, the Lawrence Police Department, and others.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz; Guy Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Boston Field Division; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Chief Romero of the Lawrence Police Department, made the announcement today. This case is being prosecuted by Christopher Pohl of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit.