Leader of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
BOSTON – Four men who are alleged to be members and significant criminal associates of the Latin Kings street gang operating in New Bedford, Mass., were charged yesterday on federal drug offenses. The charges stem from a long-term investigation into narcotics sales in the New Bedford area.
In 2006, an investigation into the Latin Kings resulted in the state and federal prosecution of 37 members and associates in the New Bedford area, significantly disrupting the gang for several years. 2012, law enforcement began to see a resurgence of street-level drug sales and violence in areas of the city that the Latin Kings were known to occupy. An investigation resulted in the arrest and prosecution in state and federal courts of 46 Latin Kings gang members.
According to court documents, over the past eight months, the defendants sold narcotics in New Bedford to cooperating witnesses and undercover officers in the Bonneau Court section of the city. “The Pit” was identified as a section of Bonneau Court plagued by drug dealing and violent crime that is controlled by the Latin Kings. Many of these charges result from drug sales in, around that area, and from residents’ complaints of violence.
The following individuals were indicted, arrested and detained following initial appearances yesterday in U.S. District Court in Boston:
Rafael Reyes, 30, charged with possession of cocaine, cocaine base, and fentanyl with intent to distribute;
Virgilio Adorno, 29, charged with distribution of cocaine base; and
Avimael Ortiz, 23, charged with distribution of cocaine base.
The following individual remains a fugitive:
The charge of distribution of cocaine base provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, eight years of supervised release and a fine of $8 million. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Mickey D. Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; New Bedford Police Chief Joseph C. Cordeiro; and Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Glenn A. MacKinlay and Kunal Pasricha of Weinreb’s Organized Crime & Gang Unit are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the indictments are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.