Thee members/associates of the 18th Street Gang, including one Chelsea man, pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Boston in connection with illegal, street-level gun trafficking.
Oscar Oliva, a/k/a “Droopy, 26, of East Boston; Ralph Bonano, 23, of East Boston; and Dennis Pleites Ramos, 23, of Chelsea, pleaded guilty to engaging in the business of dealing with firearms without a license. Oliva also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for January 2018.
In 2015 and 2016, a federal investigation identified a network of street gangs, which had created alliances to traffick weapons and drugs throughout Massachusetts and generate violence against rival gang members. Based on the investigation, 53 defendants were indicted in June 2016 on federal firearm and drug charges, including defendants who are allegedly leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, the East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Street Gang. These gangs operated primarily in the East Boston, Boston, Chelsea, Brockton, Malden, Revere and Everett areas. During the course of the investigation, over 70 firearms, cocaine, cocaine base (crack), heroin and fentanyl were seized.
Oliva was a leader in the 18th Street gang, a multi-national criminal organization that operates throughout the United States, and was involved in a large conspiracy to deal in firearms in the Greater Boston area. Oliva was personally involved in at least 12 firearms deals involving at least 13 firearms to a cooperating witness. In total, the cooperating witness was able to obtain over 30 firearms from the conspiracy during the investigation, including assault rifles, shotguns, and handguns – several of which had obliterated serial numbers. Bonano and Pleites Ramos were involved with selling handguns in the Greater Boston area. In addition to the firearms trafficking, Oliva also sold cocaine base (crack cocaine) to a cooperating witness.