Four New Bedford Latin Kings Among 48 Federal Prisoners Released on COVID-19 Petitions
BOSTON — Nine members of the Latin Kings are among 48 alleged and convicted criminals released from federal custody after petitioning release due to concerns over COVID-19.
U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling released the list Tuesday afternoon of those petitioning for release.
Of the nine Latin Kings released, four are either from or have ties to New Bedford and were awaiting trial after being arrested as part of Operation Throne Down back in December.
That operation, a joint venture of federal, state and local enforcement, saw 64 people arrested in connection with the notorious street gang, 23 of whom were from or had ties to New Bedford.
Those released as part of the COVID-19 petitions include Josue Carrasquillo, a.k.a. “King Playboy,” who was released on April 17; Juan Figueroa, a.k.a. “King Pun,” who was released on April 1; Isaac Feliz Rivera, a.k.a. “King Izzy,” who was released on April 22; and Roberto Vargas, a.k.a. “King Royalty,” who was released on March 31.
The four men are all facing conspiracy and racketeering charges in association with the Latin Kings gang, while Vargas is also charged with the manufacturing and distribution of cocaine.
Jose Rodriguez, a.k.a. “King Sutter,” is awaiting a decision on his request for release; he is also charged with conspiracy, racketeering, and manufacturing and distributing cocaine.
Three other Latin Kings members with ties to New Bedford – Shelton “King Shells” Johnson, Jeremia “King Sweepy” Medina, Natanel “King Nael” Velasquez and Orlando “King Lindi” Santiago-Torres, all had their motion for release denied.
Other notable names were also on the list. Yesenia Diaz, a Brockton woman sentenced to four years in prison back in 2018 for her role in the armed kidnapping of a Quincy man and his two children, was released on April 22.
Natalio Miranda, a member of the Brockton drug crew known as the “Head Shot Mafia” that was allegedly running a fentanyl delivery service, was released on April 7. Fellow HSM member Djoy Defrancesco is awaiting a decision on his request, while HSM member Placido Pereira’s request for release was denied.
Gloria Camara of Fall River, charged with theft of public funds and making a false statement in relation to welfare fraud, was released on March 27.
Chindy Diaz of New Bedford, charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, was released on April 23.
Jamie Torres of Fall River, who faces numerous drug possession and distribution charges related to cocaine, heroin and fentanyl, was released on April 8.
Bruce “Monster” Sartwell, the East Bridgewater man authorities say is the president of the Outlaws motorcycle gang, is awaiting trial on a charge of possession of an unregistered firearm. His request for release is pending.
Steven Miranda of Wareham and Clifford Gomes of Acushnet, both arrested in connection with a drug ring operating in and around Wareham and New Bedford, are both awaiting a ruling on their requests for release. Gomes had already been convicted and is awaiting sentencing.
Also awaiting a decision on the request for release: Jose Diaz Fontenez of New Bedford, on multiple cocaine charges, including conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute five kilos or more; Yuen “Chino” Liu-Torres of New Bedford on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute five kilos or more of cocaine, plus money laundering charges; Luis Ricardo Torres of New Bedford on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams of cocaine or more; Alexander Santiago Medina of Fall River on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine; Jose Santos of Fall River on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute five kilos or more of cocaine, plus money laundering charges; and John Silvia of Somerset, charged with securities, mail and wire fraud as well as witness tampering.