NEW BEDFORD — A former New Bedford-based regional officer for a national criminal enterprise known as the "Latin Kings" has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison and three years of supervised release on racketeering charges.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, 26-year-old Michael Cotto of New Bedford, known as "King Gordo," was sentenced on June 8 by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya Zobel.

A former member of the Latin Kings' New Bedford Chapter, Cotto had previously pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in January after admitting to playing a role in distributing drugs and conducting acts of violence for the gang.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said that he was involved in a February 2018 beating, known as a “termination,” of a person suspected of cooperating with law enforcement, and also planned another termination for a leader of the Fitchburg Latin Kings for the same reason.

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Cotto was captured on video in December 2018 participating in a group assault of another person, and was seen striking the victim with a baseball bat.

In December 2019, he was one of 62 leaders, members and associates of the Latin Kings caught nationally and charged by a federal grand jury with racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy and firearms charges.

According to the press release, Cotto is the 28th defendant to be sentenced in the case.

 

The U.S. Attorney's Office said that the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, colloquially known as the Latin Kings, is a violent criminal enterprise with thousands of members across the United States.

Court documents allege that the gang distributes drugs to generate revenue, and engages in violence against witnesses and rival gangs to expand influence and protect its turf.

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