BOSTON – An alleged member of the Latin Gangsta’ Disciples gang in Lawrence was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for federal firearms trafficking. Defendant sold 11 firearms, 18 magazines and 359 rounds of ammunition (including 59 rounds of hollow point ammunition, sometimes referred to on the street as “cop killers).
Eric Valentin, a/k/a “Jefe,” 22, of Nashua, N.H., was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel to three years in prison and three years of supervised release. In April 2018, Valentin pleaded guilty to dealing firearms without a license and conspiracy to deal firearms without a license. In February 2018, Valentin was charged along with co-defendants Jose Ilarraza, a/k/a “Kae-Kae,” 26, of Newburyport, and Bryan Torres-Almanzar, a/k/a “Flex,” 19, of Nashua, N.H.
According to court documents, in September 2017, a cooperating witness working for federal investigators was approached by an individual in the Middleton House of Corrections, after that individual learned that the cooperator was interested in obtaining firearms for shipment to the Dominican Republic. The cooperating witness was instructed to contact Torres-Almanzar, who was allegedly heavily involved in firearms trafficking.
Investigators used this information and another cooperating witness to purchase firearms from Torres-Almanzar and his partner, Valentin, on six occasions between Sept. 12, 2017, and Oct. 19, 2017. For example, on Sept. 14, 2017, the cooperating witness arranged to purchase a 9mm semiautomatic pistol with a laser sight, three magazines and 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition for $1,000 from Torres-Almanzar and Valentin. During the sale, Torres-Almanzar and Valentin talked about future gun purchases and told the cooperating witness that “we do business and will take care of you.” They also said that they were in the business of “growing our organization” and repeatedly urged the cooperating witness to buy more firearms.
During the course of the investigation, the cooperating witness purchased a total of 11 firearms, 18 magazines and 359 rounds of ammunition (including 59 rounds of hollow point ammunition, sometimes referred to on the street as “cop killers”) from Torres-Almanzar and Valentin for a total of $12,300. During an Oct. 4, 2017 sale, Valentin provided the cooperating witness with a “price list” that indicated the range of firearms that Valentin and Torres-Almanzar allegedly had for sale.
Torres-Almanzar previously pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 26, 2018. Ilarraza’s case remains pending.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Mickey D. Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division; Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett; Lowell Police Chief Jonathan C. Webb; and Nashua (N.H.) Police Chief Andrew J. Lavoie made the announcement today.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.