Former Leader of New Bedford Latin Kings Chapter Pleads Guilty to Narcotics Conspiracy Charges
BOSTON – A former leader of the New Bedford Chapter of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (“Latin Kings”) pleaded guilty today to drug conspiracy charges.
Xavier Valentin-Soto, a/k/a “King X,” 33, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine before U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel, who scheduled sentencing for Dec. 16, 2020. Valentin-Soto was charged in December 2019, while serving a related sentence in state prison. Prior to his incarceration on the state charges, Valentin-Soto was the Cacique (or second-in-command) of the New Bedford Chapter of the Latin Kings.
During the plea proceedings, Valentin-Soto admitted that he conspired with other Latin Kings members and leaders to distribute cocaine and cocaine base in and around New Bedford. As Cacique, Valentin-Soto held a leadership role in the drug distribution conspiracy that the Latin Kings maintained in and around multiple trap houses throughout the north side of New Bedford.
Valentin-Soto was arrested in July 2017, when local police executed a search warrant at a Latin Kings trap house in north New Bedford and located cocaine and materials for the packaging and distribution of controlled substances. Valentin-Soto was charged in state court, but released after posting bail. While on pretrial release for the state charges, Valentin-Soto sold a total of 160 grams of cocaine powder to a cooperating witness over the course of three recorded purchases in early 2019.
The Latin Kings are a violent criminal enterprise 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 organization. As alleged in court documents, the gang uses drug distribution to generate revenue and engages in violence against witnesses and rival gangs to further its influence and to protect its turf.
Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, Valentin-Soto faces a sentence of 65 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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. Xavier Valentin-Soto is the tenth defendant to plead guilty in the case.
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. 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.