Member of New Bedford Latin Kings Chapter Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy Charges
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”) pleaded guilty today to racketeering charges.
Raekwan Paris, a/k/a “King Debo,” 25, 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 March 25, 2021.
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 the 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.
With respect to the shooting, according to court documents, 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.
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. Paris is the 25th 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 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.