Latin Kings leader pleads guilty to racketeering and drug charges

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On Tuesday, the former East Coast leader of the ‘Latin Kings’ gang pleaded guilty to racketeering and drug charges.

Michael Cecchetelli, 41, of Springfield, also known as ‘King Merlin’, led the Latin Kings’ operation in the east, holding the title of Supreme Regional Overseer for the East Coast.

The Latin Kings are a violent criminal enterprise comprised of thousands of members across the United States. The Latin Kings adhere to a national manifesto, employ an internal judiciary and use a sophisticated system of communication to maintain the hierarchy of the organization. As alleged in court documents, the gang uses drug distribution to generate revenue, and engages in violence against witnesses and rival gangs to further its influence and to protect its turf.

-the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell

According to the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell, Cecchetelli pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.

Back in December of 2019, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against 62 Latin Kings leaders on racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy, and gun charges. Ceccheteli is the 43rd to plead guilty.

If convicted of the RICO conspiracy charge, Cecchetelli could spend up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,00. He is scheduled for sentencing on July 8.

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