By Seth Daniel
In an affidavit issued in federal court late last week, special agents detailed numerous firearms sales, attempted murders, huge amounts of drug sales and a gang that said it was ready to go to war with the Chelsea Police.
In an early morning raid last Thursday, June 9, federal, state and local law enforcement cracked down on the East Side Money Gang (ES$G) and the 18th Street Gang in Chelsea – arresting at least 12 targeted members in Chelsea alone and leveling charges against 66 members of those two gangs and another gang in Jamaica Plain. In total, 53 defendants have been charged in federal court, three of whom were previously arrested. Thirteen defendants have been charged by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in state court. More than two dozen individuals have been detained for administrative deportations.
The raid was reminiscent of the early-Thursday raid of the MS-13 gang earlier this year where more than 60 members of that gang were also charged.
The ES$G is known in Chelsea for its brash behavior despite being only about five years old and made up mostly of very young men. It has an ongoing feud with the Chelsea-based Outlaws and the East Boston-based Maverick Street gang. In the most serious charges, Federal officials detailed one attempted murder of an Outlaw at a Revere gas station in early April by ES$G member Brandon ‘Big Baby’ Baez.
The 18th Street gang is a multi-national gang that specializes in firearms, officials said, and the drug trade. That gang goes beyond the borders of the City and was often a rival and target of MS-13 – as the two have engaged in a years-long war in Chelsea, East Boston and Everett.
Officials said the two gangs had worked cooperatively to supply one another with drugs and guns.
During the course of the investigation, more than 70 firearms were seized.
On Thursday, more than 400 federal, state and local law enforcement officers carried out the arrests of numerous leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, the East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Gang in JP. These individuals operated primarily in East Boston, Chelsea, Brockton, Malden, Revere and Everett. Additional individuals were taken into custody on federal immigration violations.
In 2014, a federal investigation identified a network of street gangs which had created alliances resulting in the trafficking of weapons and drugs throughout the state, and generated violence against rival gang members. The investigation also revealed significant cocaine, crack, and heroin dealing committed by gang members, many of which were supplied though a Brockton-based drug network.
The ES$G gang has been particularly noteworthy in Chelsea lately, drawing much attention online for brazen postings of rap videos detailing their crimes and for recruiting in local high schools.
“Despite its relative short lifespan, the gang has been responsible for numerous acts of violence, including multiple shootings,” read the affidavit. “The gang has presented significant public safety problems for Chelsea and East Boston where the gang engages in violence and drug trafficking and is also where the gang is frequently targeted by rival gangs…The ES$G has targeted rival gangs and members of the public to further its goals. ES$G members and associates have actively sought to intimidate potential witnesses to its illegal actions in order to prevent detection and prosecution. There is an ongoing conflict between the ES$G and the Outlaws in Chelsea, which has resulted in multiple violent crimes, including three attempted murders by ES$G.”
The leaders of the gang were identified as Angel ‘Stacks’ Mejia and Josue ‘Superbad’ Rodriguez. Mejia was involved in the sale of several firearms, more than a kilogram of crack cocaine and multiple attempted murders, as well as arming other gang member, some of whom were juveniles. Both men can be viewed on YouTube videos rapping about some of the criminal exploits alleged in the indictment.
One attempted murder that was detailed and caught on a wiretap by investigators was a shooting on April 3 in Revere where two Outlaw gang members were allegedly shot at some nine times at a gas station by Baez. Mejia and Rodriguez were alleged to have armed him two days earlier in preparation for the hit.
Others charged were:
- Emmitt ‘Easy’ Simpkins, sold 77 grams of cocaine to agents.
- Henry ‘Junior’ Del Rio, allegedly sold a Ruger .45 to an undercover agent and was heard on a wiretap detailing the armed robbery of a drug dealer.
- Jerry ‘Fetti’ Leiva, sold a pistol and a shotgun to an agent – a shotgun he allegedly used to shoot someone before he sold it. Leiva also told police the ES$G was ready to go to war with the Chelsea Police when they questioned him about a domestic violence incident he was witnessed perpetrating.
“Leiva threatened officers by identifying the locations where officers parked their vehicles including a specific personal vehicle used by an officer who lives in Chelsea and stating that he would have someone take care of them,” read the affidavit. “Leiva said he was in the ES$G and that they were prepared to go to war with the police.”
- Elyhas ‘Boi Boi’ Diaz, allegedly sold two firearms to an agent with Leiva.
- Roberto ‘Forty’ Jimenez, has been incarcerated on other drug charges and was heard on a wiretap saying he set up one victim to be whacked. His mother, Jessika Heyer, is alleged to have sold a gun last July on his behalf to other ES$G members while he was federally-incarcerated.
The 18th Street gang was singled out by authorities for their proclivity to arm other gangs. Authorities began buying guns from the 18th Street Gang in Chelsea in April 2015.
Authorities noted that the gang had the ability to move large quantities of guns throughout Chelsea and Boston. In a little over one year, agents alleged to have made controlled purchases of 37 firearms from 18th Street Gang leaders and members – including three assault rifles, 29 handguns, and five shotguns.
The first buy came in April 21, 2015 from Oscar ‘Droopy’ Oliva.
Others charged included:
- Luis ‘Catracho’ Serrano, allegedly sold to agents crack cocaine and six firearms, including two assault rifles purchased in the last two weeks.
- Jose ‘Little Joker’ Pineda-Ramirez, allegedly sold at least four firearms, including a shotgun, to agents.
- Cristian ‘Bombio’ Velasqeuz, this man has been deported once before agents said and had returned somehow to Chelsea. He was involved in the sale of 10 firearms and crack cocaine to agents.
- Omar ‘Negrito’ Villegas, allegedly was involved in multiple firearm and cocaine deals and was a supplier of guns to the ES$G. Also sold agents a sawed-off shotgun.
- Chester ‘Chapin’ Martinez, allegedly sold three firearms and crack cocaine to agents.
The charge of RICO conspiracy provides a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Depending on the drug quantity, the drug trafficking conspiracy and distribution charges provide a sentence of 20 years, 40 years or a lifetime in prison; a minimum of three, four or five years of supervised release; and a fine of $1 million, $5 million or $10 million. The charge of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license provides a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm or an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition provides a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.