New Bedford Latin Kings Trap House Landlord Pleads Guilty
NEW BEDFORD — The owner of multiple apartment buildings used by the New Bedford Latin Kings gang for dealing drugs has pleaded guilty to racketeering and drug conspiracy charges.
Robert Avitabile, known as Bobby, admitted to his association with the Latin Kings in federal court on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine and crack cocaine.
In New Bedford, the Latin Kings ran a vast crack cocaine trafficking ring out of multi-unit apartment buildings known as "trap houses."
Gang members dealt drugs in the trap houses after getting a supply of the drugs from the local gang leader Jorge Rodriguez, known as “King G.”
Multiple recordings emerged in court filings that document Rodriguez cooking crack cocaine at the trap houses, directing violence against rival gangs, meting out discipline and handling firearms.
Avitabile owned three buildings in New Bedford used to sell, store and manufacture drugs, and rented them to the gang knowing that they would be used for this purpose.
Although police searched the apartments controlled by the Latin Kings dozens of times, the U.S. Attorney's Office stated, Avitabile continued to rent them to gang members.
Court documents also revealed recordings of Avitabile arranging rental payments with gang leader Rodriguez, as well as conversations about investing Rodriguez’s drug proceeds into real estate.
Through Avitabile’s association with the Latin Kings and Rodriguez, the gang was able to deal drugs and control the neighborhood using violence, according to the office.
Under the plea agreement Avitabile will forfeit proceeds from selling three apartment buildings in New Bedford which had been used by the Latin Kings.
Avitabile faces up to 20 years or up to life in prison, depending on the quantity of drugs involved. He also potentially faces up to five years of supervised release and a $1 million to $10 million fine.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 10.
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