A former member of the New Bedford Chapter of the Massachusetts Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation pleaded guilty this week to racketeering charges, but she won't be sentenced for another year.

Taliyah Barboza, known as “Queen Taliyah,” 25, pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy in Boston's federal court, and Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled her sentencing for Nov. 4, 2021.

Barboza was one of 62 reputed Latin Kings members and associates targeted in a 2019 raid by federal law enforcement. The takedown capped a lengthy undercover investigation in three states. New Bedford, where the violent gang distributed drugs through a series of "trap houses" was a key locus of that investigation, according to a federal indictment.

Barboza, who was previously released from pre-trial detention, is the seventeenth defendant to plead guilty in the "Operation Throne Down" case alleging racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy and firearms charges against defendants in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

As discussed during the plea hearing, Barboza drove gang members to a robbery and shooting in September 2019, and participated in the drug distribution activities of the gang, according to a release from Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling.

The U.S. Justice Department says that the Latin Kings are a violent criminal enterprise with thousands of members across the U.S. The organized crime syndicate adheres to a national manifesto, employs an internal judiciary and uses a sophisticated system of communication to maintain the hierarchy of the organization. As alleged in court documents, the gang uses drug distribution to generate revenue, and engages in violence against witnesses and rival gangs to further its influence and to protect its turf.

The RICO conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction; and New Bedford Police Chief Joseph C. Cordeiro made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the FBI North Shore Gang Task Force and the Bristol County and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Offices. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip A. Mallard, Mark Grady and Lauren Graber of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

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