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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Six Individuals with Ties to National Gang Charged with Hobbs Act Conspiracy, Narcotics and Firearms Offenses

BOSTON – Six men were charged in federal court in Worcester today with various narcotics, firearms and conspiracy offenses. 

According to the charging documents, Junior Melendez, Shaun Walker, and Keith Johnson, all of Worcester, conspired to rob a high end glass pipe dealer in Rockland in March 2019. That attempt was thwarted by law enforcement, who arrested Johnson and Walker for possession of a firearm. Melendez was also charged for conspiring with Angel Cordova, Juan Rodriguez, and Antoine Mack to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, cocaine and crack cocaine. Mack was also charged as a felon in possession of a firearm after he was arrested in Worcester on May 24, 2019, in possession of a loaded .380 caliber handgun.

As alleged in court documents, Melendez is a convicted felon, and has previously served 109 months in federal prison for drug and firearms violations. Melendez is the alleged leader of the Massachusetts chapter of the Almighty Vice Lords street gang. Several of the men arrested also allegedly have ties to the gang. 

The defendants are charged by criminal complaint are:

  1. Junior Melendez, 39, of Worcester, arrested and charged with Hobbs Act conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery; conspiracy to use or carry a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and cocaine base;
  2. Keith Johnson, 38, of Worcester, presently in state custody and charged federally with Hobbs Act conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery; conspiracy to use or carry a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and felon in possession of a firearm;
  3. Shaun Walker, 42, of Worcester, arrested and charged with Hobbs Act conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery;
  4. Antoine Mack, 37, of Pawtucket, R.I., presently in state custody and charged federally with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and cocaine base and felon in possession of a firearm;
  5. Juan Rodriguez, 28, of Worcester, arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and cocaine base;
  6. Angel Cordova, 35, of Worcester, arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.

This morning, agents executed numerous search warrants, which resulted in the seizure of five firearms, 600 rounds of ammunition, approximately $10,000 cash, as well as various amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine.

The charge of Hobbs Act conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.  The charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine and cocaine base provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of conspiracy to use or carry a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence provides for a sentence of no greater than ten years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The crime of being in felon in possession of a firearm provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division; Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Colonel Christopher Wagner, Superintendent of the New Hampshire State Police; Worcester Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis; Shrewsbury Police Chief James Hester, Jr.; and Pawtucket Police Chief Tina Goncalves, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Greg A. Friedholm and John T. Mulcahy of Lelling’s Worcester Branch Office are prosecuting the case. 

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated June 5, 2019