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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Former Leader of Latin Kings Department of Correction Chapter Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy Charges

BOSTON – A former Leader of the Massachusetts Department of Correction Chapter of the Massachusetts Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (“Latin Kings”) pleaded guilty today to racketeering charges.

Frutuoso Barros, a/k/a “King Fruity,” 40, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled sentencing for June 2, 2021.

Barros admitted to his role in conspiring in February 2010 to murder two members of the Latin Kings active in the area of Lynn, Mass., who were believed to be “renegade” and not following directives issued by the gang’s national leadership in Chicago. In 2015, Barros was convicted in Essex County Superior Court for these crimes and sentenced to state prison. While he was substantively convicted in state court for those offenses, today Barros admitted that these crimes were committed in furtherance of the Latin Kings racketeering enterprise.

As detailed in court filings, the Latin Kings bring disputes and related gang violence into jails and prisons where members are incarcerated. Once in state prison, Barros’s membership in the Latin Kings continued and he took the position as Inca, or Leader, of the Latin Kings within the Massachusetts Department of Correction (MA DOC) system. In this role, Barros coordinated the operations of the Latin Kings inside MA DOC, including issuing directives of violence against individuals serving sentences and coordinating the violence that the gang committed inside of the MA DOC facilities. As part of his leadership role, Barros received information concerning the identities of those targeted for violence in the jails and prisons, locations of the targets and of incarcerated Latin Kings members, the standing of certain individuals with the gang and the status of disputes and alliances with other gangs both inside and outside of the prison system.

In December 2019, a federal grand jury returned an indictment alleging racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy and firearms charges against 62 leaders, members and associates of the Latin Kings. Barros is the 34th defendant to plead guilty in the case.

The RICO conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction; and New Bedford Police Chief Joseph C. Cordeiro made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the FBI North Shore Gang Task Force and the Bristol County and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Offices.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip A. Mallard and Lauren Graber of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-ocdetf.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated February 17, 2021