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(Reuters) - Dozens of members of the Latin Kings gang, one of the world’s largest criminal organizations, were arrested on Thursday in Massachusetts and along the East Coast on federal racketeering, gun and drug charges, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Some 62 gang members, including Michael Cecchetelli, a regional leader of the Latin Kings, were arrested by some 500 local, state and federal law enforcement agents who executed 31 search warrants at 24 locations, the United States Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts said in a statement.
The suspects face nine counts of racketeering, cocaine and fentanyl possession and distribution and firearm and ammunition possession by a felon. If convicted, they face decades in prison and possible fines of more than $1 million, depending on the offense.
The Justice Department described the Latin Kings, formed in Chicago in the 1960s, as one of the largest criminal organizations in the world. It “adhere to a national manifesto, employ an internal judiciary, and use a sophisticated system of communication” to maintain a criminal organization.
“The gang uses drug distribution to generate revenue, and is motivated by a desire to further its influence and to protect its turf from rival gangs,” the department said. “This has fostered a culture of institutional violence and secrecy.”
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