Federal Judge Releases 2 New Bedford Latin Kings and ‘Trap House’ Landlord From Detention
BOSTON — A New Bedford teen accused of violent crimes was among several Latin Kings associates recently released from detention by a judge following a massive federal raid on the organized crime syndicate early this month.
Federal Magistrate Judge David Hennessy last week released Kevin Guadalupe, 18, on a $5,000 unsecured bond. Guadalupe was ordered to live with his mother in New Bedford, stay away from drugs and gangs, and to attend the Northstar Learning Center in New Bedford, according to court documents.
A spokeswoman for the New Bedford Police Department said in a statement that the development from the US District Court in Boston is "disappointing." Mayor Jon Mitchell has previously criticized lower court judges for being too lenient with gang-related defendants. And in a nine-count federal indictment naming 62 gang suspects – two dozen with New Bedford ties – federal prosecutors said leniency from Bristol County judges had allowed the Latin Kings to operate with impunity in the city.
On June 20, Guadalupe, known as “King Milly,” allegedly struck a store clerk during a scam robbery staged by the Latin Kings. The robbery was arranged so a Purchase Street bodega owner could collect insurance, and the injured clerk knew nothing about the scheme, according to a court document. That same week, Guadalupe allegedly shot someone in the shoulder during an ongoing Latin Kings campaign to kill a person identified as “Victim 9.” Separately, Guadalupe allegedly kicked a person on the ground in a daytime assault in New Bedford.
"The Court states the Government has established Defendant is a danger to the community and poses a risk of flight, but does not find he poses a serious risk of obstruction of justice," Judge Hennessy wrote in a court filing.
Also released from custody this week were Taliyah Barboza of New Bedford, a woman accused of participating in a brutal beating back in February, and Robert Avitabile, the Duxbury-based landlord of three New Bedford "trap houses" allegedly used by the Latin Kings to conduct their criminal activities.
Federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of four properties Avitabile owns in New Bedford: 104 Tallman St., 358 North Front St., 239 Sawyer St., and 585 Elm St. The court ordered him to hold on to the properties, keep paying the mortgage and taxes, and to maintain them in good working order. Avataibile asked for several weeks' time to find a third party to manage the properties.
On and around Dec. 5 federal SWAT teams swept through New Bedford and other regional cities in "Operation Throne Down." Dozens of suspected Latin Kings leaders and associates were arrested following a lengthy investigation that involved undercover informants and wiretaps.
The US Dept. of Justice said New Bedford was a prime target of the raids because the organized crime syndicate had created a "palpable climate of fear" in the city. The gang's alleged Massachusetts leaders remain behind bars ahead of court dates set for February.