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Press Release

Leaders Of Latin Kings Set Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Racketeering, Narcotics, And Firearms Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Dermot F. Shea, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), John B. Devito, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), and Geraldine Hart, the Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department (“SCPD”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging 17 defendants with committing various racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses in Manhattan and the Bronx.  Ten of the defendants were arrested today and presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses in Manhattan federal court.  Three of the defendants are already in state custody and will be presented at a later date.  Four defendants remain at large.  The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:   “As alleged in the indictment, the defendants in this case include high-ranking members of a violent set of the Latin Kings gang.  They are alleged to have engaged in acts of violence, robberies, narcotics trafficking, and the use of firearms.  Thanks to the efforts of our partners at the FBI, NYPD, ATF, and SCPD, the defendants now face federal charges for these very serious crimes.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Rounding up these alleged gang members is more than just removing violent criminals from the streets they believe they control.  They’re pushing and selling drugs that are killing thousands of people each year in our country, adding to the epidemic tearing apart families and communities.  Our work today, and the work we will continue to do tomorrow on our FBI Metro Safe Streets Gang Task Force, is vital to combating the spread of these drugs, and crucial to saving people’s lives.”

ATF Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito said:  “The defendants are alleged to have conspired on, threatened and committed numerous acts of violence to influence and control their members and enforce the territorial boundaries of their illegal narcotics operations.  Thankfully through the diligent efforts of our law enforcement partners this operation has been disrupted and dismantled.  We will stand with all of our local, state and federal partners to see that these violent gangs are eradicated from our communities.  I would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case.”

SCPD Commissioner Geraldine Hart said:  “More than a dozen alleged violent gang members are now off the streets thanks to the collaborative efforts with our law enforcement partners.  As alleged, these criminals have zero consideration for the well-being of anyone, inside or outside their gang, distributing narcotics and possessing firearms in an attempt to instill fear in our communities.  We will continue to work together with our partner agencies to rid our communities of violent street gangs.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea said: "Targeting and dismantling gangs and crews, and preventing the violence so often associated with their illegal activities, continues to be among the highest priorities for the NYPD. We continue to relentlessly with our law enforcement partners to identify, arrest, and build the strongest possible cases to hold to account anyone who involves themselves in such behavior."

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and statements made in court[1]:

CARMELO VELEZ, a/k/a “Jugg,” CHRISTOPHER RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Taz,” LUIS SEPULVEDA, a/k/a “Red,” ANGEL LOPEZ, a/k/a “SB,” CHRISTOPHER LUM, a/k/a “Un,” EMMANUEL BONAFE, a/k/a “Eazy,” CHRISTOPHER NELSON, a/k/a “Hype,” JOSIAH VELAZQUEZ, a/k/a “Siah,” ALBERTO BORGES, a/k/a “AB,” JUAN HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Goldo,” HEINNER SOLIS, a/k/a “Juelz,” EZEQUIEL OSPINA, a/k/a “Izzy,” RAIMUNDO NIEVES, a/k/a “Dobule-R,” DEESHUNTEE STEVENS, a/k/a “Kay,” HECTOR BONAPARTE, a/k/a “June,” and MICHAEL GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Wisdom,” are members and associates of a racketeering enterprise known as the “Black Mob,” which operates in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.  The Black Mob is a set, or “tribe,” of the nationwide Latin Kings gang.  In order to enrich the enterprise, protect and expand its criminal operations, enforce discipline among its members, and retaliate against members of rival gangs, members and associates of the Black Mob committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence; distributed and possessed with intent to distribute narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, and crack; committed robberies; and obtained, possessed, and used firearms.

VELEZ, 30, RODRIGUEZ, 34, SEPULVEDA, 27, LOPEZ, 34, LUM, 28, BONAFE, 27, NELSON, 28. VELAZQUEZ, 22, BORGES, 29, JUAN HERNANDEZ, 31, JESUS HERNANDEZ, 26, SOLIS, 25, and OSPINA, 23, are each charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison. 

Those 13 defendants, as well as NIEVES, 46, STEVENS, 46, BONAPARTE, 37, and GONZALEZ, 33, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute: (i) one kilogram and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of heroin, (ii) 400 grams and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, (iii) 280 grams and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of crack cocaine, (iv) five kilograms and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of cocaine, (v) oxycodone, (vi) alprazolam, and (vii) marijuana, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. 

All of the defendants except GONZALEZ are also each charged with possessing, carrying, and using firearms in relation to, and in furtherance of, the narcotics conspiracy, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.

*                *                 *

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, NYPD, ATF, and SCPD.  Mr. Berman also thanked the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision for its assistance in the case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Adam Hobson and Elinor Tarlow are in charge of the prosecutions.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.       


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment constitutes only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation.

Updated December 5, 2019

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 19-417