The leader of the MS-13 East Coast Program was sentenced July 18 in federal court in Boston for racketeering conspiracy.
Jose Adan Martinez Castro, a/k/a “Chucky,” 29, a Salvadoran national formerly residing in Richmond, Va., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 235 months in prison, the top of the sentencing range recommended by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Castro will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. In November 2017, Castro pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy.
After a multi-year investigation, Castro was one of dozens of 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. According to court documents, MS-13 members engaged in a variety of racketeering acts and crimes of violence, including six different murders committed by MS-13 members in Massachusetts between October 2014 and January 2016.
Castro was one of 49 defendants to be convicted as part of this case. All nine defendants who went to trial were convicted and 40 others pleaded guilty.
During the investigation, Castro was identified as the leader of MS-13’s East Coast Program. Most of the cliques in Massachusetts fall under the East Coast Program, which also has cliques in Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, and Ohio.
On Dec. 13, 2015, using a cooperating witness, law enforcement recorded a meeting of the East Coast Program leadership at Castro’s home in Richmond. The recorded meeting provided evidence about the organizational structure, leadership structure, and recruitment system of MS-13 as well as the means, methods, objectives, and operating principles of the gang. Leaders of the East Coast Program cliques from Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia attended the meeting.
During the meeting, Castro and others discussed how there was enough space in the East Coast Program for the all of the assembled MS-13 cliques to work cooperatively. Castro and others also discussed the need for the cliques to be better at planning and coordinating hits (i.e., murders) and Castro confirmed that murders generally had to be approved by MS-13 leaders before the local members could carry them out. The group also discussed sending money to El Salvador to support MS-13, the need to work together to increase the gang’s strength and control, and the need to kill anyone who provided information against the gang. An El Salvadoran-based leader of MS-13 also participated in the meeting via the phone and provided direction to the assembled leaders.
They’ll Let It Fly on August 11
Role model Umemba steps up for the kids of Chelsea
By Cary Shuman
Kyle Umemba has modeled on runways around the world, but his real work as a [role] model is here in Chelsea.
Umemba is one half of the co-founding team with Cesar Castro of the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament that will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Jordan Boys and Girls Boys Club on Willow Street. The fourth annual basketball extravaganza brings to Chelsea some of the best talent in the area.
Umemba, 25, was once one of those aspiring players who carved out an impressive basketball career at prestigious Buckingham Browne and Nichols in Cambridge. A product of the Chelsea Youth Basketball League (CYBL) and an AAU standout, the 6-foot-3-inch guard/forward caught the attention of college coaches.
He thought of walking on at Division 1 George Washington but chose to focus on academics. He graduated with a degree in finance and currently works as a consultant for Price Waterhouse Coopers – in addition to his celebrity appearances as a fashion model in New York, London and Milan for major designers.
“It’s a good balance,” said Kyle.
This month, Kyle is busy working with Cesar on the finishing touches for what has become the most anticipated summer youth tournament in the area.
What was the inspiration for Let It Fly?
“We saw that there was a lack of basketball leagues for the kids,” said Umemba. “We wanted to help out the players and also Chelsea graduates.”
And Umemba and Castro have done that in a big way, presenting $500 scholarships to 11 graduates of Chelsea High School and the Phoenix Charter School.
The unsung hero of the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament is none other than Joan Cromwell, Kyle’s mother and the president of the Chelsea Black Community (CBC).
“Without CBC and Joan Cromwell, this tournament would not be possible,” credited Castro.
Joan’s company, Brown Sugar Catering, is the official
caterer for the tournament.
Kyle Umemba was asked whether he considers himself a role model for Chelsea kids.
“I don’t really look for that – if my actions determine that, so be it, but I’d rather just have some type of positive effect on people,” said Umemba.
Former hoop star Castro mentors players as a coach at CHS
By Cary Shuman
Cesar Castro could dribble, drive, shoot, and pass – but what he did best in his four years on the basketball court for Chelsea High School was: score.
Twelve-hundred-and-fifty-two-points worth, which makes him the second-leading scorer for boys in school history behind the legendary Craig Walker. He was the Commonwealth Athletic Conference MVP and led Chelsea to the conference title in his senior year (2010).
The 6-foot-guard is still very much active in the game. He is an assistant coach on Judah Jackson’s staff at Chelsea High School. Interestingly, the Red Devils won the CAC championship this season.
“It feels good to win a championship as a coach and a player,” said Castro, who went on to become an All-Region player at Bunker Hill Community College.
He is a paraprofessional aide at the Wright Middle School in Chelsea and is close to receiving his bachelor’s degree from Salem State University.
Because of daily interaction with Chelsea students in the schools and in the CHS basketball program, Castro, 27, saw the need for a summer tournament that could unite the community and bring some excitement to young players.
And he’s not resting on the past success of the Let It Fly Tournament that filled the gym to capacity last year with a succession of exciting games. There are free refreshments, musical entertainment by DJ Max Max, and Raffles.
“We’re going to start something new this year with a middle school division with four teams,” said Castro. “And we still have an eight-team high school division. It should be another great tournament.”
Teams from Lynn, Boston, Cambridge, and Chelsea will compete in the older division. Some of the top prep school players in New England will be playing in the tournament.
“It’s a one-and-one format so they have to come ready to play,” said Castro. “There’s no time for feeling it out. The players were talking about this tournament on social media back in December so they’ll be ready to compete.”
Castro said he and Umemba were members of the Jordan Boys and Girls Club in Chelsea while growing up in the city.
“We want to thank [Executive Director] Gina Centrella, Jonathan Perez, and John Perez for all their cooperation and allowing us to hold our tournament there,” said Castro. “That’s our home and we thank them a lot.”
Castro also thanked Chelsea Police officers Sammy Mojica, David Batchelor Jr., and Keith Sweeney, and Chelsea firefighter Jonathan Morilli for their assistance at the event, along with City Councillors Damali Vidot and Jamir Rodriguez, who have been big supporters of Let It Fly.
The question of being a role model for Chelsea youths was posed to Castro.
“It’s not my intention to be a role model,” said Castro. “I just try to be genuine. And when I grew up, I truly appreciated someone pointing me in the right direction and that’s what I try to do in the schools and in the basketball program.”
Chelsea and Everett police drug control detectives executed simultaneous warrants at two Chelsea addresses this morning that resulted in multiple arrests and a sizable seizures of heroin, cocaine and US currency. Everett and Chelsea investigators had developed information that the two locations, 262 Maple Street and 79 Garland Street Apt#2 were covertly working together to funnel drugs into both Chelsea and Everett.
Police report that some of the six taken into custody had multiple identifications making it difficult to ascertain their true identities. That aspect of the investigation is on going.
The arrested individual’s will face charges in both Chelsea and Malden District Courts.
Chelsea Police remind the community they can report crimes or suspicious activity anonymously in various formats. Citizens can call the 24 hr “tips” line at 617-466-4880, email reports directly from the departments website at www.chelseapolice.com or download for free the MYPD App that is compatible with both Android and Apple smart phones. All three ways are monitored and totally anonymous.
Leader of MS-13 East Coast program pleads guilty
Defendant was recorded presiding over meeting of East Coast Program
Record Staff Report
The leader of the MS-13 East Coast Program pleaded guilty Nov. 27 in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy.
Jose Adan Martinez Castro, a/k/a “Chucky,” 28, a Salvadoran national formerly residing in Richmond, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.
U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Feb. 26, 2018.
After a three-year investigation, Castro was one of 61 persons named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts.
MS-13 leaders incarcerated in El Salvador oversee individual branches, or “cliques,” that are grouped into “programs” throughout the United States. During the investigation, Castro was identified as the leader of MS-13’s East Coast Program. On Dec. 13, 2015, Castro was recorded as he ran a meeting of East Coast Program clique leaders in Richmond, Va. During the meeting, Castro and others discussed sending money to El Salvador to support MS-13, the need to work together to increase the gang’s strength and control, and the need to violently retaliate against anyone who provided information against the gang.
Castro is the 25th defendant to be convicted.
Castro faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence.
State Trooper nabs two men with firearm, crack cocaine
Record Staff Report
A motor vehicle stop by an alert Massachusetts State Trooper last week on the Parkway resulted in the seizure of an illegally possessed gun, more than 100 rounds of illegally possessed ammunition, and illegal narcotics.
On the morning of November 21, Trooper Joseph Barteaux was patrolling Route 16 westbound in Chelsea when he observed a black Nissan Altima being operated in violation of motor vehicle laws and observed it almost strike another vehicle while abruptly changing lanes.
The vehicle, occupied by two brothers, pulled into a McDonald’s parking lot. Trooper Barteaux followed it into the lot and conducted a motor vehicle stop. Upon questioning, the driver, 22, stated he and his brother were coming from his girlfriend’s house in Lynn and were returning to their home in Randolph. The driver, however, could not name the street his girlfriend lived on.
After making further observations of both men being uncooperative and appearing nervous, Trooper Barteaux asked both men to exit the car. The 24-year-old passenger walked with an apparent limp and dragged his right leg. When asked, he denied being injured. Based on the Trooper’s training and experience, he believed the passenger was concealing something in his clothing and was walking strangely to hold it in place.
Despite the suspect’s attempt to resist the search, the Trooper located a cylinder concealed in the suspect’s pants. Trooper James Maloney arrived on scene and assisted Trooper Barteaux in controlling the suspect. The suspect became upset and attempted to break free, twisting his body with his elbows raised and striking the Troopers in the process. The Troopers physically placed the suspect on the ground. Trooper Barteaux drew his department-issued electronic control weapon and ordered the suspect to cease resisting; the suspect then complied with the Troopers’ orders, the weapon was not fired, and the suspect was taken into custody.
Trooper Barteaux then unscrewed the top of the cylinder the suspect had been concealing and observed inside it a large plastic bag containing a white rock substance believed to be crack cocaine.
Trooper Barteaux returned to the front driver side of the Altima and observed, in a compartment in the open front door, a black ski mask. The Trooper also noticed that a plastic panel behind the front right passenger seat was loose, exposing a void inside the seat. Knowing from his training and experience that a void like that is a common hiding place for illegal contraband, Trooper Barteaux reached into it and retrieved a plastic bag containing 116 nine-millimeter rounds of ammunition and a black and silver Smith & Wesson 9mm firearm. Trooper Maloney additionally located a large roll of duct tape.
The suspects were transported to the State Police Barracks in Revere. There, during a search of the passenger’s person, Troopers located several additional bags containing a white rock substance believed to be cocaine, a brown powder believed to be heroin, and 21 purple pills believed to be Class B oxycodone. More than $1,000 cash, believed to be the proceeds from drug transactions, was also found in the passenger’s possession.
The driver was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and making an unsafe lane change. His brother and passenger was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition, possession of a Class A substance with intent to distribute, possession of a Class B substance with intent to distribute, trafficking a Class B substance over 18 grams, and assault and battery on a police officer. The brothers were subsequently arraigned in Chelsea District Court.
Philadelphia 76er and Everett native Nerlens Noel with Let It Fly Basketball Tournament Co-Founders Kyle Umemba and Cesar Castro during the Aug. 13 tournament in the Chelsea Boys & Girls Club. The second annual effort drew numerous teams and hundreds of spectators in a very competitive affair. Here, Team Cambridge player Jakigh Dottin plays defense during the championship game with Lynn. Dottin was the Gatorade State Player of the Year in 2016.
By Cary Shuman
Tournament co-directors Cesar Castro and Kyle Umemba hold a jersey promoting their Second Annual Let It Fly Classic on Saturday, Aug. 13 at Highland Park.
The first annual Let It Fly Basketball Classic was such an overwhelming success that it surpassed the expectations of co-tournament directors Cesar Castro and Kyle Umemba.
Eight teams competed in the inaugural event on a hot summer day at Highland Park. Teams from Revere, Cambridge, and Lynn came to Chelsea to play in the highly competitive tournament. Lynn won the title.
The Chelsea Police, led by Chief Brian Kyes and Officer Sammy Mojica, supported the event with their presence at Highland Park. There were trophies, music, basketball jerseys, and great food, free of charge, for all participants.
Castro, a Chelsea High basketball coach and former star (1,252 career points) and a student at Salem State University, and Umemba, a graduate of Buckingham Browne and Nichols and George Washington University, are back for a second year of “Let It Fly” on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Highland.
Castro, 25, and Umemba, 23, were surprised but quite pleased that last year’s event was so well received by local basketball players and the Chelsea community.
“We knew it was going to be a decent event, but as it was going on, we said, ‘wow, this may be something big,’” said Castro.
“We had a vision of it and a plan to execute, but when it actually happened, so many people were there to support it and enjoy it,” said Umemba. “I hadn’t experienced an event in Chelsea like that in a long time. Everybody was happy.”
Castro said in high school he had played in tournaments in other cities and his thought was, “Why not do a tournament in Chelsea? Let’s bring basketball back to Chelsea.”
Umemba and Castro are role models who want to inspire youths to have an impact on their community.
“We want to show the youths that we can do this tournament, raise a lot of money for scholarships, and then give out scholarships to kids who aren’t that much younger than we are,” said Umemba. “You can make an impact at any age.”
Through proceeds from the tournament, the Let It Fly Classic was able to give scholarships to three Chelsea High School graduates who will be attending Providence, Bates, and UMass/Amherst.
“We’re aiming for five scholarships this year,” said Castro.
“We want to help students who have taken the initiative of going to college,” said Umemba.
The tournament co-directors said they are grateful to local businesses and organizations including Alex Johnson of Early Start Co (a clothing line), main sponsor Chelsea Black Community, an organization led by Kyle’s mother, Joan Cromwell, the Chelsea Department of Public Works and Joe Foti, and the Chelsea High Scholarship Committee.
City Manager Thomas Ambrosino and Chief Brian Kyes are sponsoring teams. Robert Bradley, executive director of Chelsea Community Cable Television, hosted a show with the co-directors promoting the tournament.
The two long-time friends are proud of the tournament they founded and they welcome Chelsea residents to attend the games at Highland next week.
“Kyle and I have been friends for a long time – you know what they say, teamwork will make the dream work,” said Castro.
“We just go and do it – we leave the extra stuff aside,” added Umemba. “We’re here for the kids.”
(Please visit the Web site: www.letitflyclassic.com for more information).
The decision by President Obama to open the diplomatic doors to Cuba and begin the process of bringing that nation into the modern world acknowledges something that has been a reality for decades: the Cold War is over.
Yes, the dictatorial regime of the Castro brothers is antithetical to the democratic values we espouse. But there are three points we wish to make:
First, we already deal with many similar countries all over the world. China, Saudi Arabia, and countless other nations do not even remotely resemble the sort of democratic ideal that we profess to believe in. Yet we consider some of these countries our strongest allies and some are our biggest trading partners.
Second, it is our firm belief that as Cuba becomes open to trade and tourism, Cuba will begin to undertake the democratic reforms that we all wish to see occur. The Castro brothers are old men who will not be around much longer. The lesson of history has been that when former Communist leaders pass into the sunset, the desire of the vast majority of their people for freedom will overwhelm those who wish to maintain the status quo. That will be especially true in Cuba, which is just a stone’s throw from our shores and which has so many historical ties to the U.S.
Finally, those in our country who lecture others about the values of freedom and democracy should not be so quick to judge, given that we ourselves hardly live up to the ideals espoused in our Declaration of Independence or our Constitution in countless ways.
As far as we can tell, the only drawback to the President’s Cuban initiatives is that it will not be long before the unspoiled Cuba — both in terms of its natural beauty and its architectural historicity — will be overwhelmed by the false promises and rapaciousness of American capitalism.
Hopefully, Cuba’s future leaders will not succumb to the glitter of American gold and will maintain the integrity of their nation.
Cesar Castro and Kyle Umemba are hosting a big-time basketball tournament in Chelsea this weekend.
On Saturday at the Highland Park courts, eight teams, ages 16 and under, will compete in the first annual Let It Fly Classic. Proceeds from the tournament will go toward scholarships for the Chelsea High School Class of 2016.
Three teams will represent Chelsea in the tournament. Revere, Cambridge, and Lynn are among the other cities vying for the championship trophy in the full-court tournament that will have referees.
Castro and Umemba, who are co-directors, said they were looking to bring a youth basketball event to Chelsea that would have an impact in the community.
“We wanted to be pro-active and help the kids with a tournament that will bring excitement and unite the community,” said Umemba, a graduate of George Washington University who played basketball at Buckingham Browne and Nichols, a prestigious prep school in Cambridge.
“We want to bring the city together,” added Castro, who scored more than 1,200 points during his brilliant career at Chelsea High.
The two community leaders said that City Councillor Giovanni Recupero, Chelsea Police officer Sammy Mojica, and DPW Director Joe Foti were instrumental in securing Highland Park as the venue and getting it ready for the event. Mojica’s son, Sammy Jr., a basketball player at Drexel, will be in attendance at the tournament.
The co-sponsors of the tournament are J.A.B. Step and Chelsea Black Community (CBC), a local organization presided over by Kyle’s mother, Joan Cromwell. The eight team sponsors are: Eastern Minerals, Katz Bakery, Kraft and Hall Associates, Today’s Collision Repair Center, Councilor-at-Large Calvin T. Brown, ROCA, City Manager Thomas Ambrosino, and Blade Masters Barber Shop.
The players on the championship team will receive a team trophy and an individual trophy. A Most Valuable Player Award will also be presented.
Alex Johnson, owner of the Early Start Clothing Line, donated giveaway bags for the winners. Justin Kitteridge of ISlide donated custom-made sandals for the MVP recipient and the raffle drawing.
Castro is a paraprofessional in the Chelsea school system and pursuing a degree in Education at Salem State University. Umemba, who studied finance at George Washington University, will be doing consulting work at Price Waterhouse Coopers, a Big Four accounting firm.
Both Castro and Umemba are hoping that their experiences and knowledge can inspire the next generation of Chelsea youths.
Cesar Castro and Kyle Umemba will host the First Annual Let It Fly Classic at Highland Park this Saturday at Highland Park beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing through the championship game at 4 p.m.
Castro wishes he had teamed up with the 6-foot-3-inch Umemba at Chelsea High. While in prep school, Umemba played against Nerlens Noel (Tilton), Alex Murphy (St. Mark’s), and Shabazz Napier (Lawrence Academy).
“I really believe we would have won a state championship if my buddy Kyle were there,” said Castro. “It would have been lob city in Chelsea.”
Juan Vega, of Centro Latino, listens as Zilda Castro tells
about the struggle she had to justify spending the money to
become an American Citizen. Census figures show that legal
permanent residents in Chelsea and all over the country
are not taking the final step towards citizenship. A group of
immigrant advocacy organizations, including Centro, called
for a lowering of the Naturalization fees during a press conference on Broadway last Friday.
The American Dream has always concluded with a resident from another country raising his or her hand and officially transitioning to a naturalized American citizen.
However, more often than not, the American Dream has stopped short of becoming an American, and several local immigrant services organizations – including Centro Latino de Chelsea – are calling on the government to lower naturalization fees to spur more people to take the citizenship step.
“There are 8.5 million legal permanent residents nationwide who are eligible for citizenship and who aren’t doing so,” said Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). “Fees have really increased over the years. In 1995, it was $97 and then $225 in 1998. It is now $680 including biometrics testing. If you look at low-income statistics, it takes two weeks and two days to pay for the Naturalization fees…We strongly believe citizenship and Naturalization are critical to the integration of immigrants and we’re calling for a lowering of these fees.”
U.S. Census figures from the latest American Community Survey (2009-2011) show that permanent residents in Chelsea (those with a so-called Green Card) have abysmal rates of becoming Naturalized Citizens.
Of the city’s total counted population, some 15,474 (45 percent) are foreign-born. Of that group, only 4,006 (25 percent) became Naturalized Citizens, while an astounding 11,741 (75 percent) never took that final step.
Additionally, more than half (51 percent) have been permanent residents for more than 10 years.
Juan Vega, of Centro Latino – who hosted the press conference last Friday morning – said there are a number of reasons why immigrants don’t choose to Naturalize, and certainly the current fee is one big reason.
“There are a number of things that delay people from becoming citizens in our view,” said Vega. “For many, it’s because of not speaking English, general fears people have, or a lack of understanding U.S. history. People need to understand these things are not insurmountable. The fee is not insurmountable either, but it does need revising. A shift needs to be made. A fee is understandable and there needs to be one, but it should be nominal and attainable. It’s to the point now that it’s unreachable for many and it’s only people with means who can achieve it.”
Vega also mentioned that there are hundreds of people across the nation and in Massachusetts who want to become citizens, but put it off because of financial reasons.
That fact is exactly what spawned the press conference and the collaborative effort between Centro Latino, the Irish International Immigrant Center, the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) and MIRA. They have also allied with the National Partnership for New Americans, which produced a study last month on why more legal permanent residents don’t Naturalize.
One of the major reasons cited in the report was the high fee.
That was a reality explained Friday morning by Zilda Castro, a Brazilian immigrant who has operated a hair salon in Cambridge for many years. However, despite operating a business and living many years in the area, she never chose to become a citizen until 2011.
MAPS Director Paulo Pinto said Castro had to be convinced that the money was worth spending.
“Zilda was one of those people who had to be convinced it was worth spending the money because it is expensive,” he said. “When she saw all the benefits, she agreed after a long time contemplating it.”
Said Castro, “I finally feel like I’m home. I’ve been in business for a long time and I have wanted to be an American Citizen for a long time. It’s been the best decision of my life.”
And that’s what the group of organizations – also knowns as the Greater Boston Citizenship Initiative – hopes more permanent residents will see, especially with a lower fee.