31 Boston-area gang members face federal charges

Crime

BOSTON (USDOJ.gov) – Twenty members and associates of NOB, a Boston-based street gang, have been charged in federal court in Boston for various crimes, including racketeering (“RICO”) conspiracy, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking, crossing state lines for the purpose of prostitution (the Mann Act), firearms charges and bank fraud. 

Two other associates were previously charged with drug trafficking and firearms related charges. In addition, nine individuals were charged with conspiring to distribute controlled substances, including fentanyl, in a drug conspiracy linked to NOB.

“Dismantling violent gangs is a top priority of the Justice Department — operations like these have a direct, beneficial effect on the neighborhoods in which these gangs sell drugs and shoot each other,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling.  “Today’s arrests are also a reminder that well-funded, professional police departments are not optional, but crucial, for protecting the safety of our communities.”

“Today’s arrests should serve as a warning that we will not tolerate gang related violence, and those who cause it,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Gross. “Members of this criminal enterprise wrongly believed they were above the law, but they clearly underestimated us.”

“This investigation is an example of ATF’s dedication to working with our local, state and federal partners in identifying, targeting and investigating violent criminals who are involved in selling firearms and narcotics. These are criminals who prey upon innocent citizens and lessen the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Kelly Brady. “Our neighborhoods deserve to flourish without fear or intimidation inflicted by violent gangs. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to reduce the violent crime that has done so much damage to so many of our Boston neighborhoods.”

“Today we saw that organized crime is no match for law enforcement. As alleged, many of the individuals arrested today have engaged in a ruthless and senseless string of attacks and murders, terrorizing the communities in which they operated all across the state. Some were involved in violent crimes as far away as Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “As a result of our combined efforts, the threat posed by this criminal organization has been neutralized, and the members and associates of this vicious gang will now have to answer for their horrible crimes.”

According to charging documents, since the summer of 2019, federal and local authorities have been investigating NOB, which is an abbreviation for Norton/Olney/Barry – streets in Dorchester. NOB is associated with the longstanding Wendover street gang. It is alleged that, through the racketeering conspiracy, members and associates of NOB were involved in a range of criminal activity including murders, attempted murders, armed robberies, drug trafficking, sex trafficking and illegal firearms crimes. While the gang is based in Boston, their criminal activity spanned across other  communities, including Randolph, New Bedford, Stoughton, Brockton, East Bridgewater, Taunton, and communities on Cape Cod, as well as Rhode Island, Maine and Connecticut.

Over the last approximately four years, it is alleged that NOB members/associates have committed multiple murders and shootings – many of which targeted rival gang members, particularly members/associates of the Cameron Street gang, another Boston-based street gang. For example, it is alleged that, in February 2020, two NOB-related murders were committed in Boston and Brockton. The twin brother of the Brockton victim had been shot and killed in July 2019 in Boston. In a recorded jail call during this period of violence, a NOB member remarked that the gang’s rivals were “droppin’ like flies.” During the same time period, gang members/associates were involved in the theft of multiple motor vehicles (some of which were used for violent crimes), and one of the thefts resulted in the kidnapping a five-year-old female victim from Boston, who was later abandoned in Randolph.

In addition to violence, NOB members/associates have allegedly trafficked drugs throughout Massachusetts, including marijuana, fentanyl, cocaine, cocaine base (crack), heroin and various types of prescription pills, including opioids. The fentanyl distributed by the gang involved not only fentanyl in powder form, but also fentanyl pills that had the appearance of oxycodone pills. On July 20, 2019, police officers conducted a vehicle stop of two of the defendants. Officers recovered a plastic bag with the fentanyl pills and a loaded 9mm pistol with an obliterated serial number from their vehicle. Ballistics analysis subsequently linked the pistol to a prior shooting in New Bedford. 

NOB members/associates were also allegedly involved in sex trafficking, including transporting women across state lines for the purposes of engaging in prostitution.  For example, an NOB member allegedly transported two sisters from Massachusetts – one of whom was a minor at the time – to Connecticut in April 2017 for the purpose of having them engage in prostitution.

The charges of RICO conspiracy and committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime provides a mandatory consecutive sentence of five years in prison, up to life of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of crossing state lines for the purposes of prostitution provides a sentence of up to 10 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.

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