MS-13 Leader Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison

MS-13 Leader Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison

A leader of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique was sentenced today in federal court in Boston.

Rafael Leoner Aguirre, a/k/a “Tremendo,” 22, a Salvadoran national, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 19 years in prison and three years of supervised release, which he will begin serving after completion of the state prison sentence for which he is currently incarcerated. Leoner Aguirre will also be subject to deportation upon the completion of his federal sentence. In November 2017, Leoner Aguirre was convicted by a federal jury after a multi-week trial of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.

Leoner Aguirre was the leader of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique. In 2013, Leoner Aguirre entered the United States illegally from El Salvador and initially moved to Michigan. From there, he began recruiting and planning MS-13 activities impacting Massachusetts. Among other things, Leoner Aguirre created recruitment videos for MS-13 and posted them on YouTube. This enabled younger gang members and associates to view these videos, including one witness who testified that he first saw these videos while at a local high school in Massachusetts.

In March 2014, Leoner Aguirre moved to the Chelsea area and immediately began activating, organizing, and supervising the Enfermos clique. As part of that activity, Leoner Aguirre encouraged members of the clique to attack and kill rival gang members, in addition to committing other racketeering acts such as robberies. Leoner Aguirre himself committed a number of racketeering acts, including an attempted murder in Chelsea where Leoner Aguirre struck a victim in the head with a machete.  Leoner Aguirre also committed an attempted murder involving a shooting, which is the incident for which he is currently serving a four-to-five year state prison sentence.  Leoner Aguirre committed both of these attempted murders in daylight on busy public streets in Chelsea.

The other members and associates of the Enfermos clique were Hector Ramires, a/k/a “Cuervo;” Bryan Galicia Barillas, a/k/a “Chucky;” David Lopez, a/k/a “Cilindro,” a/k/a “Villano;” Daniel Menjivar, a/k/a “Roca,” a/k/a “Sitiko;” Angel Pineda, a/k/a “Bravo;” and Kevin Ayala, a/k/a “Gallito.” Each of these defendants has pleaded guilty and will be subject to deportation upon the completion of their sentences.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Turco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief James Guido; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.

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Re-Branding of Wynn Boston Harbor Tower Under ‘Serious Consideration’

Re-Branding of Wynn Boston Harbor Tower Under ‘Serious Consideration’

The Wynn Boston Harbor tower hasn’t even reached the top floor, and already the name on the top is under serious reconsideration following the exit of the company’s founder Steve Wynn regarding sexual misconduct allegations.

Responding to comments from Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey, Wynn Boston Harbor president Bob DeSalvio said they are seriously considering changing the name to not include ‘Wynn.’

“We are at this time considering a re-brand of the project and we’ll have an announcement on that at a later date,” said DeSalvio following the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) meeting on March 29.

He said he didn’t have a time frame, though, and it isn’t expected to be announced this week.

“It’s something we are actively considering right now,” he said.

The name change has seemingly been coming for several weeks, but the local Wynn team and the Las Vegas team had all been silent on the issue.

In comments to the Boston Globe in February following his ascension to CEO of the company, Matt Maddox indicated that a sudden re-brand of the company worldwide would be very difficult. He said that while most American customers associate the company with Steve Wynn, many of the Asian customers associate the brand simply with five-star luxury. Changing a well-known name, he said, cannot happen overnight.

The local thinking has been quite different, though, as the project has not been completed. Though the name has contained ‘Wynn’ for the last two years, nothing has yet been affixed to the building – making a change much easier here than elsewhere in the company’s existing portfolio of properties.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) Chair Steve Crosby said he didn’t have a strong opinion on the matter, but said Wynn would do what it best for its business.

“For the record, I’m agnostic on that,” he said. “It’s the first I’ve heard they’re doing that. At the moment, it’s a decision for them to make.”

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Police Briefs 03-15-2018

Police Briefs 03-15-2018

SPELLING BEE BANDIT SENTENCED

A Chelsea man, dubbed the “Spelling Bee Bandit,” was sentenced March 7 in federal court in Boston for four bank robberies.

Jason S. Englen, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In November 2017, Englen pleaded guilty to four counts of bank robbery.

On Oct. 31, 2016, a man, later identified as Englen, entered a branch of TD Bank in Arlington, approached a teller and presented a note written on a deposit slip indicating a robbery and demanding cash. On the note, the word “robbery” was misspelled. The teller handed Englen money from the drawer and Englen fled the bank leaving the demand note behind.

Over the next few weeks, three additional banks were robbed in the same fashion: a branch of TD Bank in Reading on November 5, a branch of Salem Five in Burlington on November 7, and a branch of TD Bank in Peabody on November 13. Based on the similarity of the robberies and the physical description of the robber, law enforcement, seeking help from the public, identified Englen, who was already in state custody on unrelated charges, as the bank robber. On Dec. 12, 2016, Englen was arrested by federal authorities and charged.

SALVADORAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL RE-ENTRY

A Salvadoran national was sentenced March 8 in federal court in Boston for illegally reentering the United States after deportation.

Gerardo Alberto Perez-Fuentes, 22, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to six months in prison and one year of supervised release. Perez-Fuentes will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence. In December 2017, Perez-Fuentes pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful reentry of a deported alien.

Perez-Fuentes was previously deported on Sept. 4, 2015, and on Oct. 8, 2015. On Sept. 6, 2017, law enforcement in Chelsea encountered Perez-Fuentes and determined him to be illegally present in the United States.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Sullivan Jacobus of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.

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No Bail for Man Charged in The 2017 Chelsea Homicide of Teen

No Bail for Man Charged in The 2017 Chelsea Homicide of Teen

The Somerville man charged with murdering 15-year-old Jimmy Vasquez in Chelsea last year was ordered held without bail at his arraignment this week, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

Juan Carlos Matos Figueroa, 22, of Somerville, was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on indictments charging first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a large capacity feeding device, carrying a loaded firearm, assault and battery by discharging a firearm, four counts of attempted assault and battery by discharging a firearm, and five counts of armed assault with intent to murder for opening fire on a group of unarmed teens, killing Vasquez and striking a second victim. At the request of Assistant District Attorney Stacey Pichardo of the DA’s Gang Unit, Figueroa was ordered held without bail.

According to prosecutors, Vasquez and five other teens aged 15 to 18 were standing in front of a Shurtleff Street address on the afternoon of January 13, 2017. No member of the group was armed.

Shortly after 5:30 p.m., a vehicle in which Figueroa was a backseat passenger made its way down Shurtleff Street toward Grove Street. Figueroa allegedly produced a 9mm handgun equipped with a 30-round magazine and a red laser sight and pointed the weapon at the group, garnering the group’s attention with the laser, prosecutors said.

The vehicle continued down the street a short distance before stopping.  Figueroa then exited and opened fire on the group, fatally striking Vasquez in the abdomen and a second 15-year-old in the foot, Pichardo said.

Figueroa and the other occupants of the vehicle then fled the area.

During the investigation that followed, Chelsea Police detectives and State Police detectives assigned to Conley’s office undertook witness interviews, retrieved video footage from cameras in the area, and collected physical evidence that included shell casings recovered at the scene of the shooting.

Suffolk prosecutors continued the investigation behind the closed doors of the grand jury, resulting in the return of 14 indictments against Figueroa on Friday.  Chelsea and State Police located him at a Jacques Street residence in Somerville that same date and took him into custody.

Erin O’Connor is the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate.  Figueroa is represented by Robert Griffin.  He returns to court May 10.

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Sen DiDomenico Annual DiDomenico Foundation St Patrick’s Day Roast in Charlestown March 9

Sen DiDomenico Annual DiDomenico Foundation St Patrick’s Day Roast in Charlestown March 9

Sen. Sal DiDomenico will once again be hosting the annual DiDomenico Foundation St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Friday, March 9 beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Bunker Hill Knights of Columbus in Charlestown.  This event has become the official kick-off to the St. Patrick’s Day season. In addition to a traditional Irish dinner, the night will include Irish music, step dancers, comedy by Tony V, bag pipers, videos by elected officials and the annual presentation of the Golden Shamrock Award to a community leader.   Over 75 federal, state, and local elected officials are also expected to attend and several of them will try their favorite St. Patrick’s Day jokes.  Political figures joining the festivities include Gov. Charlie Baker, Congressman Mike Capuano, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, and many more! There will also be a special surprise guest as well.  This has quickly become one of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day traditions in the Greater Boston community.

For more tickets and more information on the event, please call (617) 387-3327.  Proceeds will go to The DiDomenico Foundation, which funds educational scholarships for high school students, as well as a large toy drive during the holiday season for domestic violence and homeless shelters throughout the Greater Boston area.

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Ward 4 Democratic Committee Elects Delegates to the State Convention

Ward 4 Democratic Committee Elects Delegates to the State Convention

Registered Democrats in the City of Chelsea Ward 4, held a Caucus on February 3, 2018 at the Chelsea Public Library to elect Delegates to the 2018 Democratic State Convention.

Elected Delegates are:

Olivia Anne Walsh

91 Crest Ave.

Luis Tejada

103 Franklin Ave.

Thomas J. Miller

91 Crest Ave.

Theresa G. Czerepica

21 Prospect Ave.

This year’s State Convention will be held June 1-2 at the DCU Center in Worcester, where thousands of Democrats from across the Commonwealth will come together to endorse Democratic candidates for statewide office, Including Constitutional officers and gubernatorial candidates

Those interested in getting involved with the Chelsea Ward 4 Democratic Committee should contact Attorney Olivia Anne Walsh, Ward 4 Chair, at 617-306-5501.

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Standish Reflects on his Tenure at Housing Authority

Standish Reflects on his Tenure at Housing Authority

By Seth Daniel

In 2011, the Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) was in total disarray, and Chelsea resident Tom Standish had a long history of putting things back together.

As the chair of the CHA since 2011, putting things back together is exactly what Standish, the other Board members and the staff at CHA did in the wake of the Michael McLaughlin corruption scandal.

Now, with his work seemingly done and the CHA now a high-performer in the public housing world, Standish has stepped aside from his long-time role as chair of an organization that was quite literally brought back from the grave.

“It was a clear case of corruption and the need to restore normalcy to the government,” said Standish recently from his home on the waterfront, a few weeks after stepping down as chair. “Really, it was transparent that someone was controlling the situation and had everyone in line. There needed to be five people who had the strength of character and expertise to guide the CHA back to normalcy. As it turned out, we guided it to high performance.”

After the McLaughlin scandal, few thought that the CHA would ever be put back given the tangled web of accounting fraud and the money not expended on facilities for so long.

Tenants were angry.

The public was angry.

The federal government was angry.

Those five board members, led by Standish, helped restore the confidence.

Standish said he saw a posting about the City looking for talented people to serve on the new board – as the old board had been removed quickly on suspicion of corruption with McLaughlin. With a deep resume as a regulator in the Connecticut government and in other endeavors, he was chosen right off. At the first meeting, his other four colleagues quickly elected him as the chair when he voiced concern over the minutes from the previous meetings – challenging the Board’s attorney.

From there, the rebuilding took place, including the hiring of current CHA Executive Director Al Ewing – who had served previously in the CHA administration.

“It was our task to establish a route that would bring us to restoration of faith in the performance of the duties,” said Standish. “We went on the war path. We got the support of Al Ewing and he did a fabulous job of brining a fee accountant in and an accountant from outside to do an audit…That gave us a lot of confidence in Al. You can change a lot with a big organization if you can get competent, honest people. For me personally, that was a turning point in the organization.”

Another turning point, he said, was when they were able to get the full services of the Nixon Peabody law firm and Attorney Jeff Sacks to help them guide the case against McLaughlin on behalf of the CHA. That was also assisted by Charlestown attorney Susan Whalen, whom the CHA hired.

Standish said, through a mutual friend, he had heard that Nixon Peabody was looking for a case to work on pro bono that would make a difference. As it happened, that case was the CHA’s.

“They were going to pay for it 100 percent,” he said. “It wasn’t one of those where they said they would help us for 75 cents on the dollar. It was 100 percent…Susan Whalen in conjunction with Nixon Peabody were able to move the case forward and were able to get a decision.”

While the matter of McLaughlin’s $200,000 pension is still outstanding, and the McLaughlin matter still appears as a potential Executive Session item on every CHA meeting agenda – for the most part justice was done.

Standish said he was very relieved on the day McLaughlin was sentenced in Boston Federal Court, knowing that justice had been rendered for the tenants and the taxpayers. However, he said he was conflicted about the time and type of sentence – noting that he is glad he did not have to make a recommendation to the court.

“In the end, McLaughlin said he was just trying to keep up with his neighbors,” he said. “He said they all had nice cars and nice houses and he just wanted to keep up with them. It was a totally different McLaughlin than we had seen up to then.”

Overall, Standish said he would look back at his time on the CHA as something of a gift – a way he could give back, and in turn, be given to.

“I was energized by it,” he said. “There are a lot of people who run out and look to be fulfilled in life by making money, but try as they may, nothing is more fulfilling than giving to society…The thing that’s great for me is to see public housing work in Chelsea. I’ve come to realize that high-minded people make this world work. We have been a high-performer every single year since the first one. We worked very hard – many long hours and all uncompensated. It has been invigorating and exciting. I regard it as a gift to have had the opportunity.”

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MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy

MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy

A member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique in Chelsea, pleaded guilty on Sept. 28 in federal court in Boston to RICO conspiracy involving the attempted murder of a rival gang member.

Domingo Tizol, a/k/a “Chapin,” 23, a Guatemalan national who resided in Chelsea, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy, and admitted responsibility for the attempted murder of a rival 18th Street gang member in Chelsea in May 2015. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Jan. 4, 2018. Tizol is the 17th defendant to plead guilty in this case.

On May 26, 2015, Tizol and, allegedly, Bryan Galicia-Barillas, a/k/a “Chucky,” another MS-13 member, repeatedly stabbed an 18th Street gang member on Bellingham Street in Chelsea. The victim survived the attack.

After a three-year investigation, Tizol was one of 61 defendants named in a January 2016 superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. According to court documents, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the group. Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder gang rivals whenever possible.

The RICO conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  According to the terms of the plea agreement, the parties will recommend that Tizol be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Tizol will also be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Turco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations and the remaining defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Chelsea Man Sentenced for Running Illegal Guns

Chelsea Man Sentenced for Running Illegal Guns

A Chelsea man has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to two years in jail in connection with trafficking illegal guns in Greater Boston, Attorney General Maura Healey announced.

Jesse Cardona-Restrepo, 22, pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court Wednesday to the charges of Trafficking a Firearm (one count), Carrying a Firearm (one count) and Possessing Ammunition (one count). Following the plea, Judge Peter M. Lauriat sentenced Cardona-Restrepo to two years in the House of Correction followed by four years of probation. The AG’s Office recommended a sentence of two and half to four years in state prison followed by three years of probation.

Cardona-Restrepo was one of nine defendants indicted in seven separate cases in April 2016 in connection with a gun and drug trafficking operation in East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Jamaica Plain.

The charges were the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which uncovered that the defendants were members and associates of the 18th Street Gang and the East Side Money Gang and were allegedly trafficking illegal guns and drugs including heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. The defendants were arrested as part of a larger sweep where 66 gang members were arrested and charged with federal and state charges.

An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives(ATF) revealed that Cardona-Restrepo illegally sold a revolver and ammunition in Chelsea.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Sara Shannon, of AG Healey’s Criminal Bureau, and Assistant Attorney General Gina Kwon, Deputy Chief of AG Healey’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crimes Division. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Chelsea Police.

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Public Health Alert:Chief Kyes, Area PDs, Send Out Warning on Bad Heroin; Four Dead in Chelsea Over 48 Hours

Public Health Alert:Chief Kyes, Area PDs, Send Out Warning on Bad Heroin; Four Dead in Chelsea Over 48 Hours

By Seth Daniel

Four people in Chelsea died of suspected opiate overdoses in a 48-hour period last weekend, with a fifth dying in Revere as well.

The surge in opiate deaths sparked Chief Brian Kyes to issue a community public health alert on Sunday, Aug. 13, warning everyone that it appeared a batch of illegal drugs on the streets of the area was dangerous and likely laced with Fentanyl.

“The Chelsea Police Department and State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office are investigating a sudden spike in overdoses, some fatal, within the last 48 hours,” read the alert. “The police want to alert the community of the danger of this recent influx of Fentanyl into the area which could possibly be the cause of these incidents. Police are actively seeking to find the source through chemical analysis.”

Kyes said the deaths happened so fast that he felt like there was a need to alert the public.

“We had four deaths from overdoses and Revere had one in a 48-hour period,” he said. “That’s five in our general area in a 48-hour period. Based on that spike and the overdose fatalities in only 48 hours, I sent out a warning in the form of a community alert or public health alert to let people know there appeared to be illegal drugs on the street that could be laced with Fentanyl and dangerous.”

On Friday, the first Chelsea overdose and death happened in the early evening when a 65-year-old man died. At 10 p.m. on Friday, a 28-year-old woman overdosed and died.

In Revere on Friday, an unidentified man died in the afternoon from a suspected drug overdose.

Back in Chelsea, on Saturday, a 48-year-old man overdosed and died.

Finally, on Sunday, a man was found outside in the shrubbery behind Beth Israel on Broadway who had overdosed and was deceased.

Kyes said that made 11 deaths from overdoses in Chelsea this year, which is actually lower that at this time last year.

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