Additional Leaders Of Latin Kings Set Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Racketeering, Narcotics, And Firearms Offenses | USAO-SDNY

Audrey Strauss, 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”) and Dermot Shea, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a fifteen-count Superseding Indictment charging 18 defendants with committing various racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses, as well as violent crimes in aid of racketeering.  Eleven of the defendants were previously indicted in December 2019 by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York with racketeering conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, and possessing firearms in furtherance of a narcotics conspiracy.  Five of the seven newly-indicted defendants were arrested today and will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein in Manhattan federal court.  Defendant MARK WOODS, a/k/a “Smokey,” is currently in state custody and will be presented at a later date.  Defendant WILLIAM GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Bori,” remains at large.  The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni.

The defendants arrested today include the most senior members—known as the “Dons”—of a Latin Kings set currently operating in New York. 

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged in the Superseding Indictment, the defendants in this case include the leaders 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 and NYPD, the defendants now face federal charges for these very serious crimes.”

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

CARMELO VELEZ, a/k/a “Jugg,” CHRISTOPHER RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Taz,” LUIS SEPULVEDA, a/k/a “Red,” EMMANUEL BONAFE, a/k/a “Eazy,” ALBERTO BORGES, a/k/a “AB,” JUAN HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Guerra,” JESUS HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Goldo,” EZEQUIEL OSPINA, a/k/a “Izzy,” RAIMUNDO NIEVES, a/k/a “Double-R,” DEESHUNTEE STEVENS, a/k/a “Kay,” HECTOR BONAPARTE, a/k/a “June,” DIEGO MATEO, a/k/a “Casa,” JUPANKY PIMENTEL, a/k/a “Panky,” WILLIAM GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Bori,” MARK WOODS, a/k/a “Smokey,” RICARDO RICUARTE, a/k/a “Nino,” RAUL CUELLO, a/k/a “2B,” and PAUL CUELLO, a/k/a “Flip,” are members and associates of a racketeering enterprise known as the Latin Kings, and specifically, the set, or “tribe” of the Latin Kings known as the Black Mob, which operates in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.  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.  Some of the defendants are also charged with committing assaults in aid of racketeering, including assaults in connection with gunpoint robberies of drug dealers and gambling parlors. 

The Black Mob has a recognized leadership hierarchy and a code of conduct that members must follow.  The leadership structure resembles the traditional leadership structure of other Latin King tribes.  Leaders in the Black Mob are referred to as “Crowns,” with the respective Crowns ranked as “First Crown,” “Second Crown,” etc.  The gang’s leadership structure also includes “Coppos,” which are the Black Mob members in charge of members in a certain geographic borough.  Even higher than the Crowns and Coppos are the “Dons.”  The Dons are either founding members of the Black Mob or longtime members who have earned a higher level of respect.   As alleged, three of the Dons—MATEO, PIMENTEL, and GONZALEZ—and four Crowns or Coppos—RICUARTE, WOODS, and the CUELLO brothers—have been charged in the Superseding Indictment.

Charts containing the names, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants are set forth below.  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. 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.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and NYPD. 

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

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

 

COUNT

DEFENDANT(S)

MAX. TERM OF IMPRISONMENT

Count One:  Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering (18 U.S.C. §§ 1962(d), 1963)

All defendants except STEVENS and BONAPARTE

Life imprisonment

Count Two: Narcotics Conspiracy (21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(b)(1)(A))

All defendants

Life imprisonment; Mandatory minimum sentence of ten years

Count Three: Brandishing and Discharging Firearms in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense  (18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and 2)

All defendants except STEVENS and BONAPARTE

Life imprisonment; Mandatory minimum sentence of ten years, which must run consecutively to any other sentence

Count Four: Possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense (18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and 2)

STEVENS and BONAPARTE

Life imprisonment; Mandatory minimum sentence of five years, which must run consecutively to any other sentence

Count Five: Assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering (18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2)

WOODS

Twenty years’ imprisonment

Count Six: Brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and 2)

WOODS

Life imprisonment; Mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, which must run consecutively to any other sentence

Count Seven: Assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering (18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2)

VELEZ, RODRIGUEZ, SEPULVEDA, BONAFE, JESUS HERNANDEZ, PIMENTEL, and WOODS

Twenty years’ imprisonment

Count Eight: Assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering (18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2)

WOODS

Twenty years’ imprisonment

Count Nine: Brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and 2)

WOODS

Life imprisonment; Mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, , which must run consecutively to any other sentence

Count Ten: Assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering (18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2)

WOODS

Twenty years’ imprisonment

Count Eleven: Brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and 2)

WOODS

Life imprisonment; Mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, which must run consecutively to any other sentence

Count Twelve: Assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering (18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2)

VELEZ, SEPULVEDA, WOODS

Twenty years’ imprisonment

Count Thirteen: Brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and 2)

VELEZ, SEPULVEDA, WOODS

Life imprisonment; Mandatory minimum sentence of seven years, which must run consecutively to any other sentence

Count Fourteen: Assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering (18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2)

WOODS, OSPINA

Twenty years’ imprisonment

Count Fifteen: Brandishing and Discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and 2)

WOODS, OSPINA

Life imprisonment; Mandatory minimum sentence of ten years, which must run consecutively to any other sentence

 


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

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