Latin King Boss Nabbed In "Largest Latin King Takedown In History" Has Ties To Genovese Family

Feds: Latin Kings boss has family ties to La Cosa Nostra



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.

Among those arrested is Michael Cecchetelli, a 40-year-old Springfield, Massachusetts, resident with ties to the Genovese crime family who oversaw the gang’s operations from Massachusetts down to Florida, according to Joseph Bonavolonta, head of the FBI's Boston office.

Cecchetelli and other leaders ran the gang with a Mafia-style hierarchy, including a council of leaders and as many as 11 chapters across Massachusetts alone, authorities said. The leadership approach has become a model for other Latin Kings regions in the country, they said.

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.



Federal authorities displayed the weapons seized in today's early-morning sting.

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.



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