Chelsea Prosecutor Honored at Annual Award Ceremony

Chelsea Prosecutor Honored at Annual Award Ceremony

A member of the prosecution team that handles cases in Chelsea and Revere was honored with a prestigious award named after a former school teacher, Suffolk prosecutor, and Boston City Council member, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

Assistant District Attorney Priscilla Guerrero received the Brian J. Honan Award for Excellence in the Courtroom and Commitment to the Communities We Serve at a ceremony held last month at Suffolk University. The award is presented annually to a lawyer who pursues a criminal justice mission that balances outstanding legal work with community advocacy above and beyond the call of duty. Honan, who died suddenly in 2002, worked alongside Conley as an assistant district attorney in the 1990s before taking a seat representing Allston/Brighton on the Boston City Council.

“Priscilla is a mentor to high school and college students and a resource for her colleagues,” Conley said. “But perhaps most important of all, she shows a high-functioning moral and ethical compass that makes us all very proud.”

Guerrero started in the DA’s office as an intern before being hired in 2011 as a member of the Community Relations staff, where she helped organize Conley’s annual Soccer and Basketball for Peace tournaments, recruited volunteers for the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood clean-up project, and received special recognition from the Boston City Council for her efforts. She co-founded the weekly Reading Day event at the Joseph Lee K-8 School in Dorchester, which brings prosecutors, police officers, and other criminal justice officials into the classroom to read to young children – a program that got a widely-circulated mention on Twitter from the children’s author Cynthia Levinson earlier this year.

When Guerrero made up her mind to attend Suffolk Law School, she did it while working full-time and still managed to graduate a semester early.  Taking a new role in the office as a paralegal, she helped brief and moot a series of cases heading to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and as an Assistant DA she argued them – including a serious domestic violence stabbing conviction that was ultimately affirmed by the court.

Though currently assigned as a line prosecutor in Chelsea District Court, Guerrero continues her role as an active ambassador for the DA’s office at the annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast, Taste of Chelsea, and Basketball and Soccer events. In 2016, when she was named one of El Mundo Boston’s Latino 30 Under 30, she used her platform to promote the prosecutor’s job as an important and satisfying one that benefits the entire community. And on the day she received the Honan award, she organized a pot-luck breakfast celebration at the Lee School for the school year’s final Reading Day program.

“Priscilla has spent seven years building bridges with the people our office serves,” Conley said. “She’s focused especially on the kids and teens who count on us for safe neighborhoods. She’s a leader in and out of the courtroom and I’m very proud of everything she’s accomplished as a prosecutor and community advocate.”

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Foley Installed as President Of the Rotary Club of Chelsea

Foley Installed as President Of the Rotary Club of Chelsea

Maureen Foley was installed as the 91st president of the Rotary Club of Chelsea at the organization’s Installation of Officers Receptions June 21 at the Homewood Suites Event Center.

Rotary Club President David Mindlin (right) and President-Elect Maureen Foley congratulate Paul Harris Fellow honoree Ledia Koco after she received the prestigious award.

Foley was on her home turf. She is the director of community relations for Colwen Hotel Management which operates three hotels in Chelsea, with a fourth, brand new hotel on the Chelsea-Revere line set to open soon.

Foley has become the face of the busy and beautiful hotels since their openings. She is visible at community events and has been a goodwill ambassador for Colwen with her numerous philanthropic and community-spirited endeavors.

And now she’s ready to lead one of the city’s most prominent service organizations that has been here for close to a century. She succeeds outgoing president, Attorney David C. Mindlin.

“When I came to Chelsea and Saritin [Rizzuto] invited me to my first meeting, I had no idea what Rotary was,” said Foley. “I came to make business connections because my company was building a hotel here, but it didn’t take very long before it wasn’t about the business connections any more, it was about a feeling – that I was part of something special and I wanted to stay.”

Foley, who is the eighth woman to serve as Rotary Club of Chelsea president, called it “a great honor” to be the new leader of the club. She noted that Rotary International approved a new vision statement last years.

“It says, together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves,” Foley told the gathering.

“Preparing for tonight and the year ahead,” Foley continued, “I thought about that statement and this year’s ‘Be the Inspiration.’

“Inspiration comes from the Latin word, meaning to breathe into; to put life into. I realize before inspiring passion, energy, enthusiasm, or excitement into our club, all of us must work to create change within ourselves, to first inspire ourselves to bring new attitudes, ideas, and passions to Rotary.”

Concluding her remarks, she said, “I am sure the Chelsea Rotary Club can be the inspiration for each other, for our community, and for all those who will follow us in the next 91 years.”

As proud as Maureen Foley was to take office as Rotary president, you could sense the equal feeling of joy and proudness in her daughter, Marika, son, Peter, and 5-year-old granddaughter, Aria, who sat together at a table closest to the podium.

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MS-13 Member Admits Guilt in Murder of 16-Year-Old Boy

MS-13 Member Admits Guilt in Murder of 16-Year-Old Boy

An MS-13 member pleaded guilty recently in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston.

The victim was identified as Christofer Perez de la Cruz.

Jairo Perez, a/k/a “Seco,” 27, a Salvadoran national, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy. Perez admitted that his racketeering activity involved the Jan. 10, 2016, murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston.

Under the terms of the proposed plea agreement, Perez will be sentenced to 35 years in prison.  At today’s hearing, the Court accepted the defendant’s guilty plea but deferred acceptance of the plea agreement until the sentencing hearing.  Perez will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence.  U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Sept. 11, 2018.

The investigation revealed that Perez was a member of MS-13’s Trece Loco Salvatrucha (TLS) clique. Evidence showed that on Jan. 10, 2016, Perez and other MS-13 members murdered a 16-year-old boy whom they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang. The victim was stabbed and shot multiple times.  A few days after the murder, Perez was caught on tape admitting to stabbing the victim multiple times, and he was arrested soon thereafter. Perez was also recorded burying the knives used to murder the victim in a park on Deer Island in Winthrop.

After a multi-year investigation, Perez was one of dozens of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 named in a superseding indictment unsealed in January 2016 that targeted MS-13’s criminal activities in Massachusetts. Perez is the 48th defendant to be convicted as part of that ongoing prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.  To date, all eight defendants who have gone to trial have been convicted, and 40 other defendants have pleaded guilty.

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Lynn Man Arrested in Assault of Chelsea Waitress

Lynn Man Arrested in Assault of Chelsea Waitress

Chief Brian Kyes announced late last week the arrest in Maryland of Gerardo Reyes Menjivar, 36, of Lynn, who was wanted in connection with the stabbing of a waitress at a Chelsea Restaurant on Monday night, May 7.

Menjivar was placed in custody in Beltsville, MD, May 10 by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Chelsea Police Detectives placed a Nationwide BOLO for Menjivar and the vehicle he was operating on Tuesday, May 8. Investigators worked tirelessly in their efforts to track Menjivar’s movements over 24 hours, and those efforts led to the arrest.

Chief Kyes praised his officers, the community members who came forward with information and a host of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies that coordinated together to bring Menjivar into custody.

“Today after a successful nationwide law enforcement effort we placed a violent individual into custody and our community is safer,” he said. “I thank the many agencies involved that worked in unison with our department to apprehend Menjivar.”

Menjivar will be held in Maryland as a fugitive from justice as the Suffolk Court District Attorney’s Office work on his rendition back to Massachusetts.

Menjivar will face multiple charges including Assault to Murder.

The following agencies were instrumental in the investigation:  The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, Boston PD Detectives, Denver CO PD, the Bennet CO Sheriff’s Office, NYPD, US Marshals Service, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, and  the regional HIDA (High Intensity Drug Apprehension) Taskforce.

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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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