Former New Bedford Latin Kings Landlord Sentenced
BOSTON (1420 WBSM) — The former landlord associated with the New Bedford chapter of the Latin Kings who owned the “trap houses” used for their drug activity was sentenced today in federal court for racketeering and drug offenses.
Robert “Bobby” Avitable, 52, was sentenced to time served (approximately four days in prison) and three years of supervised release. The sentence was handed down by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel despite the government recommending a sentence of 10 months in prison.
Avitable was originally arrested as part of Operation Throne Down in December 2019, in which 62 suspected Latin Kings and Queens and their associates were arrested, as 31 search warrants were executed at 24 locations – including locations in New Bedford at 358 North Front Street and 239 Sawyer Street.
Of the 62 charged defendants in the raid, two remain in warrant status. All of the remaining 60 defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing. Avitable is the 56th defendant to be sentenced, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release.
He pleaded guilty on April 19, 2022 to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, and one count of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.
As part of his plea agreement, Avitable agreed to forfeit the three apartment buildings he owned in New Bedford that were used as “trap houses” by the Latin Kings.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Avitable rented apartments to Latin Kings members knowing they would be uses to sell, store and manufacture drugs.
“Avitable was a key player in facilitating the Latin Kings’ expansion in the area, as the apartment buildings provided powerful infrastructure to recruit members and lure vulnerable juveniles to join the gang with the promises of housing and brotherhood,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Avitable worked directly with Jorge Rodriguez, a.k.a. “King G,” who at the time was second in command of the Latin Kings in Massachusetts. In November of 2020, Rodriguez was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the partnership between Avitable and Rodriguez “granted a safe haven to the Latin Kings – allowing crimes to fester and grow more brazen as members operated with a sentence of impunity. Street brawls, beatings, shootings and robberies regularly occurred within, or in front of, the apartment buildings. In October 2019, a juvenile Latin Kings member was murdered steps away from one of the trap houses.”
Avitable was also heard on multiple recordings in discussions with gang leaders, including discussing a joint real estate deal with Rodriguez and how he would help launder drug money for the Latin Kings.