Chelsea Hill Walking Group Formed Out of Community Spirit

Chelsea Hill Walking Group Formed Out of Community Spirit

By Seth Daniel

Members of the new Chelsea Hill Community neighbor group gather on the stairs near Lafayette Avenue earlier this fall. The group formed after a neighbor day in Malone Park last September, and their momentum continues to build.

Members of the new Chelsea Hill Community neighbor group gather on the stairs near Lafayette Avenue earlier this fall. The group formed after a neighbor day in Malone Park last September, and their momentum continues to build.

What started as a summer get-together for neighbors near the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home neighborhood has turned into an effort that has logged many miles this fall within their community.

Now dubbing themselves the Chelsea Hill Community, the group has grown significantly and engages in safety walks and meetings on a monthly basis.

On the first Wednesday and third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m., the group walks the streets of the neighborhood. On the fourth Thursday, they hold community meetings at 6 p.m. in the First Congregational Church on County Road.

It’s something that has been as much a surprise to the founders as it is to newcomers and those who have been in the neighborhood for years.

Monica Elias-Orellana, a life-long Chelsea resident, said the idea was born out of the Community Enhancement Team (CET) efforts, which focuses neighborhood betterment projects citywide.

Elias-Orellana is part of that effort, and she and Councillors Yamir Rodriguez, Luis Tejada Yahya Noor and Pastor Ellen Rohan Ball had scheduled a clean up of Malone Park.

Then on Sept. 2 this year, they decided to hold a ‘Meet Your Neighbor’ day as a follow up, enlisting Councillor Roy Avellaneda, Henry Wilson, City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Councillor Damali Vidot to the effort.

“After that day, we decided that we should try to keep the momentum going,” said Elias-Orellana. “We’re an independent residential group and we are now called the Chelsea Hill Community. We do similar things to the existing Sector Groups, but we also do events as a neighborhood too.”

The walks have been very productive and the group has added a police officer to accompany them. They are now doing winter walks and plan to have hot chocolate and cookies to accompany the effort.

“We have a lot of momentum right now, and I think this is something we can keep going for a long time,” said Rodriguez. “I think we can make this group strong enough to join the other groups in Sector 4 or in Admiral’s Hill.”

Rohan Ball said the meetings have brought many of her members of the First Congregational Church on County Road a lot of comfort.

“At one of the meetings, two sisters who are members of the church and had to leave Chelsea after the Great Fire of 1972, were reminiscing,” she said. “It really brought them back. I felt this instant happiness that I was thrilled to see. They enchanted us with stories of the fire and the old neighborhood. It was really great to have the newer neighbors come back with the old neighbors and learn from one another.”

The group is also trying to address an early concern of the elderly in the neighborhood, that being the task of shoveling snow. Working with the Boys & Girls Club, they are hoping to organize volunteers from the Club who will shovel the walks for elderly folks during snow storms.

Elias-Orellana said what is important about their group now is that they have recruited a strong base of neighbors who are passionate. That, she said, will endure even the coldest winter walks.

“We’re a small group now, but it doesn’t matter if we have 30 or 50 people, we are a group of passionate people who are looking to be impactful where we live,” she said.

The next Chelsea Hill Community Walk will be on Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. Check their Facebook page for the latest location.

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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 Receives RWJF Culture of Health Prize for Efforts to Improve Health and Well-Being

Chelsea Receives RWJF Culture of Health Prize for Efforts to Improve Health and Well-Being

Chelsea is one of eight winners of the 2017 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Prize honors communities for their unwavering efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live healthier lives.

Chelsea is being nationally recognized for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Chosen from more than 200 applicant communities across the country, Chelsea’s award winning efforts include: reducing diesel emissions, collaborating to open up the city’s waterfront, providing services to the city’s most vulnerable, ensuring Chelsea is a welcoming community for all, tackling public health issues such as substance use and trauma, and engaging and empowering the city’s youth in environmental and food justice projects.

“So many residents, city leaders, businesses and community partners have come together to make Chelsea a healthier, more just community in which to live,” says Roseann Bongiovanni, Executive Director of GreenRoots and lifelong resident. “I am so grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for recognizing those efforts with the prestigious Culture of Health Award. It exemplifies a whole community coming together for the betterment of our people, our environment, our future.”

“For the past five years, RWJF Culture of Health Prize communities have inspired hope across the country. We welcome these new eight Prize communities who are forging partnerships to improve health for their residents,” said Richard Besser, MD, RWJF president and CEO. “There are now 35 prize-winning communities across the country that are thinking big, building on their strengths, and engaging residents as equal partners to tackle the problems that they see.”

“Being nationally recognized for this work, despite the many health challenges this community has faced and that still exist, is a reflection of the community’s resilience and commitment to one another,” said Leslie Aldrich, Associate Director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Community Health Improvement. “The friendships and partnerships that have been forged in the effort to make Chelsea a healthier place to live are true and lasting and what make Chelsea such a unique community.”

Chelsea will receive a $25,000 cash prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities and have their inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation. The other seven winning communities are: Algoma, Wisconsin; Allen County, Kansas; Garrett County, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; San Pablo, California, Seneca Nation of Indians in western New York, and Vicksburg, Mississippi.

The state of Massachusetts now has the greatest number of Prize winning communities. Past winners include: Cambridge (2013), Fall River (2013), Everett (2015), Lawrence (2015).

To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, Chelsea had to demonstrate how it excelled in the following six criteria:

Defining health in the broadest possible terms.

Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.

Cultivating a shared and deeply-held belief in the importance of equal opportunity for health

Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.

Securing and making the most of available resources.

Measuring and sharing progress and results.

“I am so very proud of the City and all of its non-profit partners,” says Tom Ambrosino, Chelsea’s City Manager. “This prestigious award from Robert Wood Johnson serves to confirm the incredible, collaborative work that occurs daily in this community to improve the health and well-being of its residents.”

Chelsea will join this year’s other Prize winning communities at the Culture of Health Prize Celebration and Learning Event at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey on October 11-12.

Learn more about Chelsea’s work, as well as this year’s other Prize winners through a collection videos, photos, and more at www.rwjf.org/Prize.

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Man, Woman Shot on Congress Avenue Tuesday Night

Man, Woman Shot on Congress Avenue Tuesday Night

Chelsea and State Police Detectives assigned to the Suffolk County District Attorneys Office are investigating a shooting that occurred in front of 119 Congress Ave. Tuesday evening.

Chelsea officers responded to a call for shots fired in front of that address at 7:45 p.m. Upon arrival officers observed two gunshot victims in the street. EMS transported both a male and female victim to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment. Both injures were considered serious.

The names of both are not being released at this time.

The investigation is ongoing. Chelsea Police are asking for anyone with information on this incident to call Chelsea Police at 617-466-4800.

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.

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Scholarship Established Honoring Richard Clayman

Scholarship Established Honoring Richard Clayman

The Richard I. Clayman Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established at Suffolk University Law School.

The purpose of the fund is to endow a perpetual Scholarship in Richard’s name which will assist students in their legal education from places like Chelsea, where Richard, this kid from Chelsea as he would say, spent his entire professional life. Training new lawyers to serve the needs of Chelsea’s most at risk, and those in communities like Chelsea, is an aspiration that Richard would applaud because that is how he lived.

Richard I. Clayman spent his life helping people. Whether it was in his youth as a Park Counselor, as a Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney, on the Chelsea School Committee, the Chelsea Board of Alderman, or as a lawyer in the City of Chelsea, Richard never hesitated to reach out his hand to lift people up. Richard learned growing up in Chelsea how much it meant to have a mentor and a friend. He benefited from the community that raised him and then dedicated his life to giving back to that community.

Richard helped people in need, regardless of their ability to pay. He helped those suffering from addiction, mental health issues and those just trying to live day to day. His legal education at Suffolk University Law School gave him greater tools to accomplish the goal of helping those who needed help, raising the hopes of people in despair, and protecting people without the ability to protect themselves.

A moving video tribute to Richard can be found at:   https://tinyurl.com/RememberingRichieClayman

The Richard I. Clayman Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established to award scholarships to deserving Suffolk Law Students who share the same passion and desire as Richard to help and nourish the people in the greater Chelsea area. The Founders of the Fund are Kate Clayman, Joshua Huggard, Steven G. Clayman, Nancy Clayman, Amy L. Nechtem, John L. Dodge, Amanda Clayman, Thomas O. Levenberg, Alyse Clayman and Drew Bulfer.

Donations may be sent to: Richard I. Clayman Memorial Scholarship Fund, Suffolk University Law School, Office of Advancement, Attention: Jeffrey P. Foss, 73 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108, or online at:  http://www.suffolk.edu/law/alumni/52314.php

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Former Chelsea Police Detective, N.H. State Rep Ronald Belanger is Fondly Remembered

Former Chelsea Police Detective, N.H. State Rep Ronald Belanger is Fondly Remembered

By Cary Shuman

Ronald J. Belanger

Ronald J. Belanger

Friends and former colleagues are paying tribute to Ronald J. Belanger as a dedicated and innovative Chelsea police officer and a popular and revered member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives who served with distinction in Rockingham County for 30 years.

Mr. Belanger, who grew up at 17 Spencer Ave. in Chelsea and attended Our Lady of Assumption, Carter Junior High and Chelsea High School, died on July 14, 2017. He was 78.

Ron Belanger Jr. delivered a beautiful and touching eulogy on behalf of his older sister, Donna Belanger Sandford, and twin sister, Rhonda Belanger Dibiase, and the Belanger family during a Mass held Tuesday at Mary Queen of Peace Church in Salem, N.H.

“I just spoke from my heart,” said Ron Jr. “We couldn’t have been more proud of what he accomplished in his life and of having the honor to be his children.”

Ron Jr. recalled his father’s career in the Chelsea Police Department where he was a detective and created the first CPD Narcotics Detective Squad. It was one of the first local narcotics units in the area and an illustration of Mr. Belanger’s keen vision that drug abuse was a growing issue in the nation.

Upon his retirement, Mr. Belanger moved to New Hampshire and began a second career in public service, winning election to the Salem Board of Selectmen and beginning a 30-year tenure as a state representative. Because of his distinguished record and length of service, he sat in the prestigious “No. 1” seat in the Granite State legislature, according to his son, Ron Jr.

“He was a great father,” said Ron Jr. “He loved being a Belanger. He loved being a brother, a father, grandfather, and great grandfather.”

Mr. Belanger was admired for his commitment to public and community service.

“He loved to serve his community in law enforcement in Boston and for the rest of his life in New Hampshire’s Rockingham County,” said Ron Jr. “I was so honored to read all the tributes to him that were in the newspaper this week.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu praised Mr. Belanger’s career in public service.

“Ron was a giant in Salem politics and made immeasurable contributions to his community as a selectman and Planning Board member and to New Hampshire as a state representative,” Sununu said in an Eagle Tribune story this week.

New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse said in a statement to the Eagle Tribune: “Salem is a better place to live because of his years of service in Concord and as a leader in the community. Ron has been a good friend for many years and he will be greatly missed through greater Salem.”

Many friends and associates from Chelsea and New Hampshire paid their respects to Mr. Belanager at a memorial observance Monday at the Douglas and Johnson Funeral Home.

In Chelsea, Mr. Belanger was remembered as a highly respected police officer and a good friend to the city. He often went the extra mile to help a colleague or a resident in need. His shining personality and warmth could be seen in the three beautiful Belanger children, who were popular among their classmates and friends.

City Council President Leo Robinson said that Mr. Belanager was “your classic, friendly Chelsea guy.”

“He was just a great person who helped so many people along the way. I’m not surprised that he chose a life of public service after his retirement in Chelsea. He had a nice, professional manner and I’m sure his constituents loved having him as their representative looking out for their best interests. On behalf of the residents of Chelsea, I extend my condolences to the Belanger family.”

Mr. Belanger was the husband of the late Dorinne (Sealy) Belanger. He will be sadly missed by his three children, Donna Sandford and her husband, Michael, of Saugus, Rhonda Belanger Dibiase of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Ronald Belanger Jr. of Haverhill; his brothers, Richard, Raymond, Donald, and Daniel Belanger, and Norma Schroth; his grandchildren, Louis, Kendra, Ari, Chanelle, Ugo, Diandra, Ronald III, Lauren, Leanne, and Kristi Rose; his five great-grandchildren, James, Payton, Lylah, Manii and Desanii, and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions in Mr. Ronald J. Belanger’s name may be made to: Salem Boys and Girls Club, 3 Geremonty Drive, Salem, N.H. 03079.

(Information and quotes from an Eagle Tribune story were used in the compilation of this report).

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Sheriff Tompkins,Department Welcome Participants of the Third Annual Summer Enrichment Program

Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins and the Department recently welcomed a new group of interns for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Summer Enrichment Program.

Now in its third year, the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) was created by Sheriff Tompkins in the summer of 2014 as a means of not only providing summer employment to Suffolk County teens, but also to give those interested in a career in law enforcement the opportunity to learn about the many branches of law enforcement and criminal justice through job shadowing, weekly presentations by members of law enforcement and the criminal justice community, roundtable discussions, law enforcement-related field trips, and educational tours.

Once again opening this year’s program, Sheriff Tompkins welcomed the group and spoke about the inspiration behind the creation of the program, and also about his expectations for the program’s participants.

“I am thrilled to be able to welcome you here to the third year of our Summer Enrichment Program,” Sheriff Tompkins told the group. “When we first initiated this program three years ago, we had several goals that we wanted to achieve with it. The first one was, of course, to provide Suffolk County students with employment to keep them off the streets and positively focused.

“Our second goal,” Sheriff Tompkins continued, “was to identify young people who were seriously interested in pursuing a vocation in one of the many sectors of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The final, but equally important goal was to bring officers, attorneys, FBI agents, judges and other representatives of the law face-to-face with young people of all backgrounds so that they could have dialogue, learn from and build trust with one another, particularly in light of recent events around the country.”

Nashua Street Jail Superintendent and Special Sheriff Eugene Sumpter also presented to the students, and – as it has been in past years – for the next seven weeks, SEP members will meet with representatives from organizations that include the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations), U.S. Marshals, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police Department, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Boston Fire Department, the Massachusetts Governor’s Office, the Office of the Mayor of Boston, the courts, and others.

“As each of you look around this room at your fellow SEP members, remember that you were chosen to participate from the larger pool of applicants because of your interest and because of your professionalism,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “Seven weeks may seem like a long time, but before you know it, the program will be over and you’ll be back in school. You have a wonderful opportunity to learn from some great representatives from the law enforcement and criminal justice communities about what may be your future careers. Stay focused, pay attention to what is said and don’t be afraid to ask questions of the people that you meet during your time here.”

To learn more about the Summer Enrichment Program or about any of the other programs and services offered by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, visit: www.scsdma.org.

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Methadone Clinic and Neighbors Meet Head On In Large Meeting

By Seth Daniel

Neighbors and community organizers confronted the owner of the Methadone clinic on Crescent Avenue Tuesday night in a large meeting on County Road about moving his operation, to which he said they would consider it.

Councillors Luis Tejada, Leo Robinson and Roy Avellaneda sponsored the open mic community meeting on Tuesday night at the First Church on County Road, in what was a meeting aimed at addressing violence and substance abuse. Though many topics were breached, the large crowd on hand was mostly interested in talking about moving the Methadone clinic.

The Methadone Clinic on Crescent Avenue, called Community Substance Abuse Centers, has been in operation since the early 2000s and was only placed in its location after a legal battle in which the City lost. Up until only recently, the clinic has been operating without a lot of public animosity, but seemingly out of the blue many community members began to criticize it at public meetings earlier this summer.

Dr. Steve Kassel, of Everett, spoke to the crowd about the benefits of Methadone and had three staff members on hand to explain how the clinic works.

“Studies showed that Methadone use decreased crime significantly,” he said. “They found that people in treatment at a rate of 93 percent used less illicit substances. Some 7 percent did not decrease their use. That 7 percent continued to use. But having that 7 percent is not a reason not to treat the 93 percent that find it beneficial…By giving them this medication, it’s not one drug for another. It’s taking away the withdrawal symptoms so they can then get to the counseling stage. We give people with alcohol medication…Part of the problem in Chelsea is we need more counseling. We do not cure the disease of addiction, just like we don’t cure diabetes. They do not get high on it and it blocks the high of heroin.”

That information was well received, but many in the audience wanted to ask the company – which often has been anonymous the community until the last year or so – about moving.

Chelsea Collaborative Director Gladys Vega led the charge.

“If there’s a way the Methadone Clinic can be relocated somewhere else, that would be a great relief to the residents of Chelsea,” she said. “We don’t want to be burdened with it anymore. Would you consider moving if we helped you identify a location? Not every city has the same kinds of problems we have to deal with. I’m not challenging the medicine because it’s necessary, but I am challenges the location and how it is so close to an elementary school that houses hundreds of young students. Chelsea has enough problems of its own and shouldn’t have to deal with other people’s problems coming in.”

That was followed by applause from the crowd.

The big news was that Kassel said he would consider a relocation.

“If the community has a viable location that can provide the medical treatment needed, Community Substance Abuse Centers is more than wiling to look at having the clinic relocated to a different site,” he said. “We want to work with the City and are partners with the City. We have a problem in our country with ‘Nimby,’ not in my backyard. No one wants a clinic in their backyard. If no one wants it and it doesn’t go anywhere, what happens to the 93 percent that get successful treatment?…I share your pain. I understand.”

Other parents and grandparents spoke about the huge numbers of people who congregate in Bellingham Square – some of whom go to the clinic and then migrate to the Square to hang out. Many said their children see bad things caused by the clinic in the Square, and also on Crescent Avenue while on their way to school.

“My granddaughter shouldn’t have to see that; it’s not fair,” said one women, in tears. “They are walking around in such bad condition that they have to crawl. I believe in what you’re doing, but not so close to the kids.”

Chief Brian Kyes said the clinic has been a unique situation.

He said they expected a rise in crime when it went in around 2003, but crime did not actually increase in the surrounding areas. He said around 700 people per day seek treatment there, with a vast majority getting their treatment and leaving the city. Around 15 to 20 people, though, head to Bellingham Square to hang out.

“Some got their treatment and then went to Bellingham Square,” he said. “Bellingham Square is a small area. If we have 15 out of 700 coming there, that’s a lot. That’s been a struggle for us.”

Though the meeting was all encompassing, and also addressed many crime issues, the focus seemed to be squarely on the clinic – as it has been now for several weeks.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino has said previously that the clinic was largely unknown to the City, but has recently been participating with the City in various initiatives – including police planning efforts.

Tejada – who was the main host of the meeting – said he was glad to see such an amazing turnout from folks.

“We have a top notch group of people running this City,” he said. “That’ why Chelsea is a place where people want to live now. Not long ago we would have had an event like this and maybe five or 10 people would have showed up. Look at this crowd. It’s amazing. People are working together. That’s why people want to come here now.”

Methadone Clinic owner Dr. Steve Kassel took many questions from the audience on Tuesday night, including whether or not he would consider moving his clinic to a new location. He said if there were a better location the community identified, he would do so.

Methadone Clinic owner Dr. Steve Kassel took many questions from the audience on Tuesday night, including whether or not he would consider moving his clinic to a new location. He said if there were a better location the community identified, he would do so.

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Juvenile Indicted Monday for Accessory in Murder Case

A Suffolk County Grand Jury indicted a 17-year-old juvenile on Monday in connection with the murder of Pablo Villeda during a mass shooting at a teen party on Washington Avenue March 6.

The youth was arraigned in Juvenile Court and was not made public due to his age.

He was arrested by Chelsea Police and State Police on Monday.

He is charged as an accessory after the fact to the murder of Pablo Villeda.

He is accused of taking multiple specific actions to assist Emmanuel Marrero in the aftermath of the March 6 incident on Washington Avenue that left Villeda dead and six other people injured from gunshot wounds.

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