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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Former Member of New Bedford Latin Kings Chapter Sentenced for Racketeering Conspiracy

Defendant admitted to role in February 2019 shooting of rival gang members

BOSTON – A former member of the New Bedford Chapter of the Massachusetts Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (“Latin Kings”) was sentenced yesterday on racketeering charges.

Raekwon Paris, a/k/a “King Debo,” 25, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel to 22 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In December 2020, Paris pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.

Paris admitted to his role in a February 2019 shooting of rival gang members and his participation in the Latin Kings drug distribution conspiracy based in the City of New Bedford. In New Bedford, the Latin Kings ran a vast cocaine base distribution network that used multi-unit apartment buildings known as “trap houses” to distribute narcotics. Members of the Latin Kings dealt drugs in the trap houses, obtaining their supply of cocaine base from co-defendant, and leader of the New Bedford Chapter of the Latin Kings, Jorge Rodriguez, a/k/a “King G.” Evidence developed during the course of the investigation included multiple recordings of Latin Kings members cooking cocaine base, directing violence against rival gang members, meting out discipline, and handling firearms used to protect the Latin Kings’ drug distribution network.

In February 2019, Paris fired multiple gunshots at rival gang members who were observed leaving a Latin Kings trap house. Shortly after the shooting, Paris was captured on a recording made by a cooperating witness admitting to shooting at the rival gang members and firing eight shots but not striking anyone.

In November 2020, Rodriguez was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.

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.

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. Rivera is the 23rd defendant sentenced in the case.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; 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 Mendell’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

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.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated April 8, 2021