A member of MS-13’s East Boston Loco Salvatrucha (EBLS) clique pleaded guilty yesterday in connection with the assault of a rival gang member in East Boston, a man who was part of a large round up of MS-13 members from Eastie, Chelsea, Everett and Somerville in January 2016.
Christian Alvarado, a/k/a “Catracho,” 28, of East Boston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as racketeering or RICO conspiracy, and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for July 6, 2017.
After a three-year investigation, Alvarado was one of 61 persons named in the January 2016 superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. As alleged in court documents, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the group. Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder gang rivals whenever possible.
On May 11, 2008, Alvarado and other MS-13 members, including fellow EBLS member Edgar Pleitez, also known as “Cadejo,” attempted to murder a gang rival by beating him near a soccer stadium in East Boston. Alvarado also allegedly conspired with Santos Portillo-Andrade, also known as “Flaco,” the leader of the EBLS clique, and Pleitez to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. On several occasions in August 2015, Alvarado and Pleitez were recorded selling heroin to a cooperating witness. In addition, using a court-authorized wiretap, federal agents intercepted telephone calls between Alvarado and Portillo-Andrade in which the two men allegedly discussed selling a half-kilogram of heroin for $26,000. On Oct. 26, 2015, agents followed Alvarado and Portillo-Andrade to the sale, after which, the agents stopped Alvarado and Portillo-Andrade’s car and seized $26,000 in cash as well as a loaded firearm and a machete.
The RICO conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and no greater than 40 years in prison, a minimum of four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $8 million.
Alvarado is the thirteenth defendant to plead guilty in this case. Other defendants have pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy, drug trafficking, document fraud, and immigration offenses.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Truco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.