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Justice News

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Springfield Latin Kings Leader Pleads Guilty to Heroin Distribution

BOSTON – The former “Inca” of the Springfield Latin Kings gang pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Springfield to distributing heroin.

Jose Cartagena, 38, of Springfield, Mass., pleaded guilty today to distributing heroin.  U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Aug. 3, 2016. 

In October 2014, an investigation was initiated in an effort to disrupt and dismantle the Latin Kings’ criminal activity in Springfield and Holyoke.  According to court documents, members and associates of the Latin Kings were engaged in the distribution of narcotics, particularly heroin.  Furthermore, disputes with rival gangs over criminal activity and drug turf were on the rise and resulted in serious crimes of violence, including armed assaults with firearms and murder.  The investigation led to the arrest of 12 alleged Latin Kings members in connection with drug and firearms offenses in November 2015.

As alleged in court documents, Cartagena held the position of “Inca,” or chief, of the Springfield chapter of the Latin Kings gang at the time of his arrest on Nov. 9, 2015.  Cartagena pleaded guilty today to distributing 300 bags of heroin in Springfield on July 31, 2015.

The charge of distribution of heroin provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine A. Wagner of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.

Drug Trafficking
Updated May 4, 2016