MS-13 Clique Leader Agrees to Plead Guilty to Rico Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking and Possession of a Firearm
BOSTON – The leader of MS-13’s East Boston Loco Salvatrucha clique agreed to plead guilty today in federal court in Boston to RICO conspiracy involving an aggravated assault, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Santos Portillo Andrade, a/k/a “Flaco,” 33, of Revere, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy, and admitted responsibility for an aggravated assault on an individual he believed was a rival gang member in Malden in December 2008. Portillo also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and 500 grams or more of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV deferred accepting the defendant’s plea agreement until sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 26, 2017. If the court accepts the plea agreement, Portillo will be sentenced to 10 years in prison and four years of supervised release.
After a three-year investigation, Portillo was one of 61 defendants named in a January 2016 superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. He is the 15th defendant to plead guilty in the case.
Portillo was the leader of the East Boston Loco Salvatrucha clique of MS-13. According to court documents, MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence against rival gang members to gain promotions and maintain membership and discipline within the group. Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder rival gang members whenever possible.
The RICO conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The drug trafficking conspiracy charge provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, a minimum of four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $5 million. The possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking charge provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison to be served consecutively to any sentence imposed on counts two (RICO conspiracy) and five (conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine), 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.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Truco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.