Chelsea Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm Possession

Chelsea Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm Possession

A Chelsea man pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Boston to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Cesar Alicea, 22, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Nov. 7, 2018.

In December 2017, Alicea was indicted along with Andres Perez, of Chelsea, who was charged with possessing cocaine base and heroin with intent to distribute. It is alleged that Alicea and Perez are members of the East Side Money Gang.

On Oct. 31, 2017, Alicea was in a car that was stopped by law enforcement officers. As Alicea ran from the police, he was observed throwing an item. Shortly thereafter, Alicea was apprehended by police and arrested. The item was recovered and determined to be a .25 caliber Raven Arms pistol.

The charge of being felon in possession of a firearm provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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MS-13’s East Coast Leader Gets More than 19 Years in Prison

MS-13’s East Coast Leader Gets More than 19 Years in Prison

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.

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ES$G Member Sentenced for Crack Cocaine Trafficking

ES$G Member Sentenced for Crack Cocaine Trafficking

An East Side Money Gang (ES$G) member was sentenced Aug. 8 in federal court in Boston for trafficking crack cocaine.

Moises “Moi” Casado, 21, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Richard G. Stearns to five years in prison and four years of supervised release. In April 2017, Casado pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and distribution of cocaine base.

In 2015 and 2016, a federal investigation identified a network of street gangs, which had created alliances to traffic weapons and drugs throughout Massachusetts and generate violence against rival gang members. Based on the investigation, 53 defendants were indicted in  June 2016 on federal firearms and drug charges, including defendants who are allegedly leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, the East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Street Gang. These gangs operated primarily in the East Boston, Boston, Chelsea, Brockton, Malden, Revere and Everett areas. During the course of the investigation, over 70 firearms, cocaine, cocaine base (crack), heroin and fentanyl were seized.

During the investigation, Casado, who was identified by investigators as an East Side Money Gang member, sold approximately 55 grams of cocaine base to a cooperating witness in Malden on Dec. 29, 2015.

Casado is one of 13 defendants to have pleaded guilty.

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East Boston Health Center Leads the Way

East Boston Health Center Leads the Way

Last week, the US Senate tried to undo the Affordable Care Act or Obama Care.  This system while it is not perfect and as a matter of fact it is far from the mark, still it provides a safety net for literally millions of Americans who would not otherwise be able to afford any health care.

What a sad commentary it is about our country and our leaders that in spite of our leading medical care that thousands of world citizens come here to use and yet for too many Americans, medical insurance still remains out of reach.  As a result, these same Americans are forced to wait – sometimes too long – to take advantage of our medical care that could save their lives.

What brings this to mind is that on Monday, US Senator Elizabeth Warren was in East Boston to praise the work of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. For decades, this health center has been delivering care to many low-income residents who lack insurance but are in need of medical help.  This center has helped thousands to cure a simple disease before it becomes progressively worse and possibly terminal.

Given all the rhetoric that is coming out about repealing or keeping the Affordable Care Act, our elected officials should look at the success of health providers like the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.  The Center is located in an area that is serving a clientele that is below the national income average and in many cases first generation Americans who are struggling to raise a family and make financial ends meet.  Yet, these same Americans are receiving quality healthcare at a price that they can afford.

It would be too simplistic to say that the model that is now being used at the Center can fit all areas of our country.  However, it can fit many areas that are urban and poor.  If this system works here, why should it not work elsewhere?  The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center model could be one piece of solving the puzzle of affordable health care.

The quote from Boston political legend and former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Albert “Tip” O’Neil who coined the phrase that “all politics is local,” seems very apt with debate going on about the Affordable Care Act in Washington D.C. and Monday’s visit and remarks from Sen. Warren on the success of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.

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Police Briefs 06-08-2017

Police Briefs 06-08-2017


On June 3, at 7:02 p.m., a subject was placed into custody after he made threats over the phone to ‘blast’ and shoot employees at the T-Mobile store located at 158 Everett Ave. He was located at his residence on Grove Street and apprehended.

Jorge Castro, 37, of 84 Grove St., was charged with bomb/hijack threats.


On May 31, at 9:50 p.m., officers were patrolling northbound on Eastern Avenue when they observed a vehicle driving in the southbound direction of Eastern Avenue. The vehicle  was observed crossing over the yellow double lines and narrowly missed colliding into the Patrol vehicle. The operator was placed under arrest for OUI after a failing a field sobriety test.

Jose Arias-Munguia, 46, of East Boston, was charged with operating under the influence of liquor, marked lanes violation and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.


On June 1, at 10:12 a.m., officers responded to an argument between two parties in front of 21 Lash St. Upon arrival, officers were flagged down by a female party, later identified the person who had called the police. The victim told officers that the female who was known to her attacked her by striking her in the face several times, and she was able to free herself to call police. The subject was located by Boston Police in East Boston and placed under arrest and turned over to CPD.

Luz Zapata, 42, of East Boston, was charged with assault and battery and intimidation of a witness.

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Traffic Counters Up

Several City video traffic counting machines have been spotted in the area of East Berkeley Street and Harrison Avenue and Washington Street.

The area has been the target of major complaints about traffic from Old Dover Neighborhood Association, and it is also the site for a pilot program to bring in a completely redesigned streetscape that is to be bid out this month by the Boston Transportation Department.

Nevertheless, the counters certainly signal the beginnings of a traffic study for the area, something that’s been requested for a long time.

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St Rose Nativity Lights up Broadway

If one sees a bright star shining to the East this Christmas Eve, then they must be looking towards St. Rose Church.

Over the last three years, the Vietnamese community within the Parish has banded together to put up a detailed Nativity scene with hundreds of Christmas lights and, this year, a towering 40-foot lighted star above the Nativity.

Father Hilario Sanez Jr. of St. Rose Church said the Vietnamese community at St. Rose numbers about 400 at the weekly Mass, and is one of the largest Vietnamese congregations in all of the Archdiocese of Boston.

For the past 10 years, he said, the Vietnamese at St. Rose have been putting up the display, with it getting bigger and better every year.

“The Vietnamese community of St. Rose prepares it in the courtyard next to the church,” he said. “The community wanted to do something that would enhance the Nativity and the baby Jesus and remind people in Chelsea about the birth of Jesus. So far, all of the comments have been very positive.”

Father Sanez said he felt it was a very good idea for those in the Parish and the community to take note of the growing display.

“Individually we have to be reminded about what happened 2,000 years ago and be reminded once again about the birth of Jesus,” he said. “It does remind us that we are celebrating the joy of the life of Jesus. He was born for us in a very simple way. The display is a great reminder of that and attracts the attention of everyone going by. Everyone has said they are very happy to see the Nativity scene here. I think it’s the only one in Chelsea.”

On the day after Thanksgiving, about 20 or so parishioners from the Vietnamese congregation gather in the courtyard and, in one day, assemble the Nativity and accompanying light display. They leave it up into January and take it down after the celebration of Jesus’ baptism.

Father Sanez said he hopes people will take a moment to stop by the display and ponder the reason for the season, and come into the church as well to celebrate Mass.

“We invite people to drop by and see the display and take pictures,” he said. “We also invite everyone to stop by the church and see the Nativity inside too. Our church is open to all.”

The overall display is very colorful and located next to the St. Rose church.

The overall display is very colorful and located next to the St. Rose church.

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Remembering Community Leader Fran Rowan

There is no corner that does not have Fran Rowan’s imprint on it.

From the Meridian House that now bears her name to the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center to the Atlantic Works Artist Building on Border Street that is home to the East Boston Artists Group to Zumix or serving on the board of the North Suffolk Mental Association that has helped the countless people get back on track as they faced recovery from drug addiction – Fran Rowan was a an outstanding community leader and a friend to all.

Throughout her life, Fran fought for what she believed was the right thing to do and despite skeptics, she eventually convinced naysayers that her vision to help and improve the community was a vision that everyone should share.

We agree with the laudatory comments that have been pouring out on social media, at coffee shops and restaurants, and from homes in East Boston and the surrounding communities that Fran Rowan left an indelible mark on all these neighborhood. The praise that she received in life and upon her passing is a result of the decades of volunteer work and community activism that she exhibited for the betterment of our community.

Fran was never one to seek adulation nor was she comfortable accepting any praise or reward without first using those opportunities to give back something to the organization or people that were bestowing praise in her direction.

We extend our condolences to her family – and her extended family that was the entire East Boston community. We mourn together over the loss of Fran Rowan.

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Chelsea Rotary Installation of Officers Set for June 30

The Chelsea Rotary Club will hold its Annual Installation of Officers at 6pm at the Chelsea Yacht Club on Tuesday June 30th. MCs for the evening will be Past Presidents Joe Vinard and Sergio Jaramillo. Installed officers for 2015/2016 will be Atty. Mark White, of Hagstrom White P.C. as President, Rev. Sandra Whitley of People’s A.M.E. Church as President-Elect, Atty. David Mindlin of Kraft and Hall as Vice President, Past President D. Bruce Much of Chelsea Clock as Secretary, Melissa Vo of Fusion Foods as Sergeant-at-Arms and Past President Joe Vinard of Chelsea Bank a division of East Cambridge Savings Bank as Treasurer. Past President Robert Alconada of Shore Collaborative will be honored as Rotarian of the Year. Abril Bocanegra will be installed as the Chelsea High School Interact President for 2015/2016. The Club will also be awarding Paul Harris Fellowships, one of Rotary International’s highest honors, to three Rotarians; Past President Brian Hatleberg of PHH Mortgage, John Letizia of CAPIC and Past President Saritin Rizzuto of Metro CU. Outgoing President Joseph Panetta of Joseph Panetta Accounting and Tax Services will be thanked for his past year of service to the Chelsea Rotary Club.

Everyone is invited to attend this event honoring the outstanding business people in our community. If you would like to attend, contact Sue Gallant at or call 617-884-7382.

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Heart Healthy Workshop Set for September 17

Heart Healthy Workshop Set for September 17

The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and Boston Medical Center are pleased to present “Keeping Your Heart Healthy as You Get Older,” a free workshop for all community members. The session will be held on Wednesday, September 17th from noon to 1:15pm on the 4th floor of the Health Center’s 20 Maverick Square Building. Learn about preventing heart disease as you get older through healthy eating and controlling your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight, presented by Doctor Gary Balady, Director of Preventive Cardiology at BMC. To attend please RSVP to Marcela Chacon at 617-568-6495 or by email at Light refreshments will be served – space is limited so please RSVP!


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