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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 27, 2020

Member of New Bedford Chapter of Latin Kings Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy Charges

Defendant was responsible for shooting rival gang member in the back in September 2019

BOSTON – A former probationary member of the New Bedford Chapter of the Massachusetts Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (“Latin Kings”) pleaded guilty today to racketeering charges.

Emanuel Lopez-Velez, a/k/a “King Manny,” 22, 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. 10, 2020. Lopez-Velez was arrested and charged in December 2019, at which time he was a probationary member of the New Bedford Chapter of the Latin Kings.

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.

As detailed during the plea hearing, Lopez-Velez admitted that on Sept. 30, 2019, he was one of multiple members of the Latin Kings who travelled to Ruth Street and McGurk Street in New Bedford in order to confront and rob rival gang members, and was provided with a firearm to do so by another member of the gang. The Latin Kings members approached one of the rival gang members, surrounded him, pointed a firearm at the victim and demanded the victim’s phone. During the gunpoint robbery, the victim ran from the Latin Kings, and Lopez-Velez was ordered by another to “get him.” Lopez-Velez chased the rival gang member and fired one shot, hitting the victim in the back. The victim fell to the ground and was transported to the hospital, where he was treated and ultimately survived the incident.

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. Lopez-Velez is the ninth 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. Attorney Philip A. Mallard and Mark Grady of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting 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.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated August 27, 2020