Defendant admitted to his involvement in assault of gang members
BOSTON – A former Regional Officer of the Massachusetts Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (Latin Kings) was sentenced yesterday on racketeering charges.
Michael Cotto, a/k/a “King Gordo,” 26, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel to 54 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On Jan. 21, 2021, Cotto pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.
The Latin Kings are a violent criminal enterprise comprised of thousands of members across the United States. 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 organization. As alleged in court documents, the gang uses drug distribution to generate revenue, and engages in violence against witnesses and rival gangs to further its influence and to protect its turf.
Cotto, a former member of the New Bedford Chapter, admitted to his role in the drug distribution activity of the Latin Kings in New Bedford, and a variety of violent acts committed in furtherance of the Latin Kings. This includes a February 2018 beating, known as a “termination,” of an individual who was suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. The victim was found by police bleeding from his injuries and transported to the hospital.
Cotto also admitted to conspiring in August 2018 to “terminate” a leader of the Fitchburg Chapter who was suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. On intercepted phone calls, Cotto discussed an elaborate ruse to trick this leader into attending a meeting at which he would be ambushed and beaten by other Latin Kings members.
In a December 2018 surveillance video, Cotto was captured participating in a group assault of another individual and observed striking the victim with a baseball bat.
In December 2019, a federal grand jury returned an indictment alleging racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy and firearms charges against 62 leaders, members and associates of the Latin Kings. Cotto is the 28th defendant to be sentenced in the case.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction; and New Bedford Police Chief Joseph C. Cordeiro made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the FBI North Shore Gang Task Force and the Bristol County and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Offices. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip A. Mallard and Lauren Graber of Mendell’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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