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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Former Leader of Latin Kings Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy and Drug Conspiracy Charges

Defendant was member of Connecticut Latin Kings governing body, known as “Crown Council”

BOSTON – A former member of the Connecticut Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (“Latin Kings”) leadership body, known as the “Crown Council,” pleaded guilty today to racketeering conspiracy charges.

Hector Vega, a/k/a “King Demon,” 34, 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 Dec. 22, 2020. Vega was arrested and charged in December 2019, at which time he was a member of the Crown Council for the Latin Kings in Connecticut.

The Latin Kings are a violent gang comprised of thousands of members across the United States. The Latin Kings adhere to a national manifesto, employ an internal judiciary and use a sophisticated system of communication to maintain the hierarchy of the criminal organization. As alleged in court documents, the gang uses drug distribution to generate revenue, and is motivated by a desire to further its influence and to protect its turf from rival gangs.

Evidence developed during the investigation included recordings of Vega presiding over a Latin Kings “trial” against two Massachusetts members who had violated rules of the gang. Regional leadership of the Latin Kings chose Vega and the Connecticut Crown Council as the judges for the trial in order for the hearing to be unbiased. After hearing evidence from members and finding the two members guilty of violating Latin Kings rules, Vega and the Crown Council ordered the beatings of both members, which were captured on recording. Vega participated in the assault of one of the members.

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. Vega is the thirteenth 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; and Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction 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. Attorney Philip A. Mallard and Mark Grady 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 September 15, 2020