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Transnational Gangs
06/09/2016

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ICE HSI, partners arrest 66 Massachusetts gang members on gun and drug charges

More than 70 firearms recovered
ICE HSI, partners arrest 66 Massachusetts gang members on gun and drug charges

BOSTON — Sixty-six alleged gang members from the Boston metropolitan area were indicted in federal court Thursday on multiple charges related to conspiracy to commit murder and fueling a gun and drug pipeline across eastern Massachusetts.

These indictments resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the U.S. Marshals Service, the Massachusetts State Police, the police departments of the following Massachusetts communities; Boston, Brockton, Malden, Revere and Everett; and the Sheriff’s departments of Suffolk and Middlesex Counties.

“Gang activity tears at the fabric of our communities and significantly diminishes the quality of life for law-abiding citizens,” said Special Agent in Charge Matthew Etre of HSI Boston. “This is a problem that must not go unchallenged in Boston, and Homeland Security Investigations is committed to partnering with other law enforcement agencies to meet this threat head on.”

More than 400 federal, state and local law enforcement officers carried out the arrests of numerous leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, the East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Gang. These individuals operated primarily in East Boston, Chelsea, Brockton, Malden, Revere and Everett. Additional individuals were taken into custody on federal immigration violations. During the course of the investigation, more than 70 firearms were seized. 

In 2014, a federal investigation identified a network of street gangs which had created alliances resulting in the trafficking of weapons and drugs throughout the state, and generated violence against rival gang members. The investigation also revealed significant cocaine, crack, and heroin dealing committed by gang members, many of which were supplied though a Brockton-based drug network.

According to court documents, the 18th Street Gang is a multi-national gang that operates throughout the United States and Central America, and whose members in the Boston area have had significant access to firearms in Boston and Chelsea. Over a one year period, investigators seized approximately 37 firearms from 18th Street Gang members alone, including 29 hand guns, three assault rifles, and five sawed-off shotguns, many of which had the serial numbers obliterated.  

In total, 53 defendants have been charged in federal court, three of whom were previously arrested. Thirteen defendants have been charged by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in state court. Over two dozen individuals have been detained for administrative deportations.  

The charge of RICO conspiracy 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 a sentence of 20 years, 40 years or a lifetime in prison; a minimum of three, four or five years of supervised release; and a fine of $1 million, $5 million or $10 million. The charge of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license provides a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm or an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition provides a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  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; Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; John Gibbons, U.S. Marshal of the District of Massachusetts; Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes; and Brockton Police Chief John Crowley, made the announcement today.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office also acknowledges the assistance of the Suffolk and Middlesex County Sheriff Departments and the Malden, Revere and Everett Police Departments.  

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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/13/2016