Three Alleged Gang Members Charged with Dealing Firearms
BOSTON – Three alleged members of the Latin Gangsta’ Disciples were charged yesterday with federal firearm offenses.
Jose Ilarraza, a/k/a “Kae-Kae,” 26, of Newburyport; Bryan Torres-Almanzar, a/k/a “Flex,” 19, of Lawrence; and Eric Valentin, a/k/a “Jefe,” 22, also of Lawrence, were charged with dealing firearms without a license and conspiracy to deal firearms without a license. Torres-Almanzar and Valentin were arrested yesterday in Nashua, N.H., and detained following an appearance in federal court in Boston. Ilarraza is in state custody for an unrelated offense.
As alleged in court documents, in September 2017, an individual who was working as a cooperating witness for federal investigators was approached by Ilarraza after hearing that the cooperating witness was interested in obtaining firearms that could be sent to the Dominican Republic. Ilarraza, who was incarcerated at the time at the Essex County Jail following a conviction for breaking and entering and resisting arrest, instructed the cooperating witness to contact Torres-Almanzar, who was allegedly heavily involved in firearms trafficking.
This information and another cooperating witness were used to purchase firearms from Torres-Almanzar and his “partner,” Valentin, on six occasions between Sept. 12, 2017, and Oct. 19, 2017. For example, on Sept. 14, 2017, the cooperating witness arranged to purchase a 9mm semiautomatic pistol with a laser sight and an extended magazine for $1,000 from Torres-Almanzar and Valentin. During the sale, Torres-Almanzar and Valentin talked about future gun purchases and told the cooperating witness that “we do business and will take care of you.” They also said that they were in the business of “growing our organization” and that it was a “good thing that he [Ilarraza] introduced us.” During the course of the investigation, the cooperating witness purchased eight firearms from Torres-Almanzar and Valentin.
The charges of dealing in firearms without a license and conspiracy each provide for a sentence of no greater than five 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; Mickey D. Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division; Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett; Lowell Chief of Police William Taylor; and Nashua (N.H.) Police Chief Andrew J. Lavoie made the announcement today.
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.