Luis Santiago of New Bedford has admitted to a federal RICO charge, marking the 11th reputed New England member of the Latin Kings to enter a guilty plea since December's massive "Operation Throne Down" raid.

Santiago, 22, known as "King Tiny," admitted to his role in a May 28, 2019 incident in New Bedford where a rival gang member was shot at, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Santiago is one of 62 individuals named in a massive federal indictment alleging racketeering conspiracy by reputed Latin Kings associates. New Bedford was a prime locus of the Dec. 5, 2019 raid across three states that capped a four-year undercover investigation. At least 23 people named in the charging document have ties to New Bedford.

Back in June a top New Bedford gang leader with a role in the statewide Latin Kings organization -- 32-year-old Jorge Rodriguez, or "King G" -- entered a guilty plea, setting the stage for other prosecutions. Since then other New Bedford residents have copped guilty pleas, including former probationary member Emanuel Lopez-Velez, 22, and Xavier Valentin-Soto, 33, a former second-in-command in the Whaling City branch of the organized crime syndicate.
The reputed East Coast leader of the Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation, Michael Cecchetelli, of Springfield, known as "King Merlin," has yet to see his day in court. Cecchetelli allegedly ordered the murders of those who questioned his authority.
And alleged New Bedford "trap house" landlord Robert Avitabile, a Duxbury resident known as "King Bobby," also apparently remains in pre-trial limbo after being released from detention in late 2019.

U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled Santiago's sentencing for Dec. 17.

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