“Operation Throne Down”: East Coast Latin Kings Go Down Big-Time, 62 Charged

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Fox y US DOJ y LEOToday

          62 members of Latin Kings charged after large scale bust on the East Coast of the US:

More than 60 members of the Latin Kings are facing federal charges after the FBI and other agencies took part in a wide-spread bust on Thursday morning, according to officials.

Members of the gang’s East Coast leadership were among those charged in what Joseph Bonavolonta, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division, said was the “largest takedown” in their office’s history.

The bust, called “Operation Throne Down,” was carried out after nearly four years of infiltration by law enforcement, who recorded high-level conversations through informants and social media posts that could implicate the members, according to Boston.com.

Over 650 law enforcement agents started making arrests around 4:00 a.m. on Thursday that saw 62 alleged gang members charged. The charges vary from drug trafficking and firearms abuses to RICO conspiracy. To arrest the more dangerous suspects, 10 SWAT teams were deployed by the North Shore Gang Task Force.
Nine of them are in custody, while eight are now fugitives, according to the outlet.
Gang members were reportedly monitored on social media wearing colors of the Latin Kings, flashing gang signs and rapping about drugs or murder in a series of YouTube rap videos. Other videos were reportedly shot at locations where members of the gang were murdered and officials believe some of the lyrics mentioned shooting other gang members, according to Boston.com
Law enforcement also gained access to three confidential sources they say helped them take down the gang leadership.
“To get at gang leadership, you almost always need a highly placed cooperating source,” Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a press conference. “If you don’t have that, it’s very difficult to get the leaders.”
Lelling said they gained an understanding of the gang’s violent ways gradually throughout the investigation.
“Time after time, we uncovered their planning of brazen acts of violence against those who ran afoul of the gang’s manifesto and constitution,” he said, according to the outlet.
       
During Thursday’s arrests in Massachusetts, police seized dozens of firearms, including machine guns and sawed-off shotguns, as well as six cars, six motorcycles, three jet skis, an ATV, drugs and $38,000. They also recovered two missing children, a 14-year-old boy from New Bedford and a 16-year-old boy from Fall River.
“Having taken out most of the leadership, it’s extremely difficult for the gang to regroup in this region” any time soon, Lelling told Boston.com. “It puts us a step ahead of them regionally — for once.”
“During the four-year investigation, law enforcement developed evidence that the Latin Kings trafficked drugs, conspired to murder more than 10 victims, and committed violent crimes including numerous incidents of robbery, shootings, stabbings, and witness intimidation,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The suspected East Coast leader of the Latin Kings, Michael Cecchetelli, aka “King Merlin,” of Springfield, is among those charged. Cecchetelli has the title of Supreme East Coast Regional Overseer, Lelling said, and is the main conduit between Latin King East Coast members and the national leadership.
“Under Cecchetelli’s leadership, the influence of the Latin Kings has grown throughout Massachusetts, leading to an increase in shootings and violence in our cities and towns,” Lelling said.
Two Rhode Island men were arrested as part of this operation, including Joel Francisco.
Francisco, also known as “King Casper,” is already facing a murder count for the October stabbing of a man inside a hookah lounge in Providence.
In documents unsealed Thursday, prosecutors say Cecchetelli tried to help Francisco escape to Mexico after the murder.
Francisco was arrested in Texas and is in custody on the murder charge and as a probation violator.
Lelling said 31 search warrants at 24 locations were also executed in various locations throughout Massachusetts but focused mostly on locations in New Bedford.
“Violence and a known pattern of witness intimidation have emboldened the Latin Kings across Massachusetts, but especially in New Bedford,” Lelling added. “Gang-related violence in New Bedford spiked during the summer and fall of 2019 with Latin King members brazenly issuing threats to rival gangs over social media.”
FBI: Latin Kings, Gangster Disciples meet at Mount Carmel Society to negotiate deals and truces
A seemingly standard bar stemming from Springfield, Massachusetts called Society of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Club and Bar, or most locals call it Mount Carmel Society, is a bit of a hot topic now.
After 62 suspected members of the Latin Kings gang were arrested this Thursday after a four-year investigation by the FBI that linked the establishment to being a meeting grounds for gang members.
In a 190-page FBI affidavit, Springfield’s topically innocuous bar was labeled as a gangster’s paradise, so to speak.
One of the alleged gang members from Springfield is said to be the leader of this region and the conduit between each of the Eastern Region states and the Latin Kings national leadership in Chicago.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling made the following statement pertaining to the alleged criminal activity and hierarchy in the area:
“Criminal activity in the Eastern Region is led by Michael Cecchetelli, a/k/a “King Merlin, 40, of Springfield, who holds the title of Supreme East Coast Regional Overseer.”
Authorities had managed to acquire a recording of the meeting that transpired at the Mount Carmel Society that day in June, detailed below is a portion of the transcript:
Present for this meeting were LIBERATO, F. LOPEZ, NUNEZ, CECCHETELLI, PEGUEROCOLON, and MARRERO. During the meeting, CECCHETELLI discusses an issue involving Victim 13 and discuss the fact that NIEVES the Inca of the Lowell Chapter wanted to issue a green light to kill Victim 13, the son of Victim 25. 183.
CECCHETELLI ruled on this matter stating, “we are not going to go looking for him,” because they cannot condone the killing of a son of a LATIN KINGS member.
However, CECCHETELLI then stated, “if a brother bumps into him on the street, we can’t tell that brother to stand down,” in essence affirming that the murder of Victim 13 has been approved.
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The FBI also reported that Mount Carmel was used as a site for a peace negotiation meeting between the New Bedford Chapter of the Latin Kings and the Gangster Disciples in February of this year. A piece of the 190-page document detailed the following about the alleged peace treaty between the rival gangs:
“There was at least one attempt to negotiate a peace between the New Bedford Chapter and Gangster Disciples. This negotiation took place on 2/23/19, at the Mount Carmel Social Club in Springfield, MA.
During this meeting members of the LATIN KINGS, including Jorge RODRIGUEZ, LIBERATO, PEGUERO-COLON, CALDERON, and CW-9 met with leaders of the Gangster Disciples in order to identify the cause of the rivalry, and address issues. 315.
During this discussion Jorge RODRIGUEZ indicates that the LATIN KINGS and Gangster Disciples should not be fighting or shooting one another and that they can both make money selling drugs.
Jorge RODRIGUEZ describes the situation on the ground in New Bedford Case 1:19-cr-10459-RWZ Document 12-1 Filed 12/05/19 Page 119 of 190 120 with respect to gang turf and that there is only one “set” of LATIN KINGS. “
The Latin Kings is considered the oldest and largest predominantly Latino gangs in the country.
Department of Justice                                
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Over 60 Members of Latin Kings Charged
Members of the East Coast and Massachusetts leadership arrested
BOSTON – The East Coast and Massachusetts leadership of the Almighty Latin Kings and Queen Nation (Latin Kings), including more than 60 members and associates, face federal charges. 
This morning, over 500 federal, state and local law enforcement officers arrested dozens of Latin Kings members and associates and executed 31 search warrants at 24 locations. 
According to court documents, the Eastern Region of the Latin Kings encompasses local chapters in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and various other states along the eastern seaboard from Maryland to Florida. There are 11 active Latin Kings Chapters operating in Massachusetts: D5K (Boston), Morton Street Bricks (Boston), New Bedford, Springfield, Lynn/Salem, Chelsea, Lowell, Lawrence, Worcester, Fitchburg and within the Department of Corrections.
Criminal activity in the Eastern Region is led by Michael Cecchetelli, a/k/a “King Merlin, 40, of Springfield, who holds the title of Supreme East Coast Regional Overseer. Cecchetelli is alleged to be the conduit between each of the Eastern Region states and the Latin Kings national leadership in Chicago. He developed a leadership approach to the gang which has become a model for other Latin Kings regions of the country. 
The Latin Kings adhere to a national manifesto, employ an internal judiciary, and use a sophisticated system of communication to maintain the hierarchy of the criminal organization. As alleged in court documents, the gang uses drug distribution to generate revenue, and is motivated by a desire to further its influence and to protect its turf from rival gangs. This has fostered a culture of institutional violence and secrecy.
During the four-year investigation, law enforcement developed evidence that the Latin Kings trafficked drugs, conspired to murder more than 10 victims, and committed violent crimes including numerous incidents of robbery, shootings, stabbings and witness intimidation.
The RICO conspiracy charge provides a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Depending on the drug quantity, the drug trafficking conspiracy and distribution charges provide for a sentence of up to 20 years, 40 years, or life, a minimum of three, four or five years of supervised release and fines of $1 million, $5 million and $10 million. The charge of felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition provides a sentence of up to 10 years, 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; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the FBI North Shore Gang Task Force, Bristol County and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Offices.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Cannon and Philip Mallard of Lelling’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit are prosecuting the cases.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Note: For Individual ‘s names and charges use the US DOJ Link at Top