New Bedford Gang Member Gets Eight Years in Prison
NEW BEDFORD — A former member of the New Bedford Latin Kings who participated in a shooting and a group assault will serve more than eight years in prison after he was sentenced in federal court Wednesday.
Known as "King Primo," 41-year-old Luis Mendez was sentenced to serve 100 months in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty in November to racketeering conspiracy charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Mendez is one of 62 Latin Kings members in and around Massachusetts to have been captured in the FBI's 'Operation Throne Down' targeting the gang in December 2019.
The gang is a criminal enterprise with branches nationwide that distributes drugs and uses violence to protect its turf, the office stated.
Mendez participated in dealing drugs out of gang trap houses in the North End and was present during a group assault in a garage in 2018 in which a co-defendant, Michael Cotto, was seen striking the victim with a baseball bat.
The defendent also participated in a May 2018 shooting in which two people were injured. Latin Kings members chased the two victims to their car, then surrounded the vehicle and slashed the tires before one gang member shot them.
Both victims fled and survived, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Mendez admitted that the pair were targeted because one of them had previously objected to Latin Kings members dealing drugs in the victim’s driveway.
On a court-authorized wiretap, Mendez can be heard discussing the incident and telling the shooter that the victims would not come court after gang members intimidated them.
Following the December 2019 FBI operation, 62 leaders, members and associates of the Latin Kings were indicted on racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy and firearms charges.
Mendez is the 50th defendant sentenced in the case.