Markey, Kennedy take campaigns into Boston jail

By Matt Murphy
State House News Service

One inmate in the Suffolk County House of Correction wanted to know how U.S. Sen. Edward Markey would help former prisoners find reliable transportation to keep appointments with their parole officers.

Another questioned the senator about his position on reparations for slavery.

And yet another asked U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy what he would do if elected to lower the rate of recidivism.

The two Democrats running for U.S. Senate stood before a room of masked inmates in the Suffolk County House of Correction on Tuesday to answer their questions about everything from systemic racism in the criminal justice system to climate change and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on immigration.

Invited by Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, each candidate had over an hour to respond and share their thoughts on how to reform a system that both agreed puts too many people behind bars, and doesn’t do enough to help people before or after they’re incarcerated. The discussion was moderated by Tompkins, who has endorsed Kennedy in the race.

“We are an over-incarcerated society. We have too many people behind bars who shouldn’t be there,” Markey said.

The first-term senator, who is seeking six more years after a long career in Washington, said he and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley had sponsored legislation to make public transit free for people to get to work and appointments, and said he signed on to a Sen. Cory Booker resolution to create a commission to investigate reparations.

And Kennedy blamed Republicans for the stalemate over immigration reform, suggesting that during his early years in Congress there were enough votes for comprehensive reform that would have protected the so-called Dreamers brought to the United States as minors by their parents without documentation.

Republican leaders, Kennedy said, refused to put the bill on the floor for a vote.

“If Mitch McConnell won’t do it, then you have to go out there and make sure Mitch McConnell’s not calling the shots,” Kennedy said, returning to the case for his candidacy that he’s better suited to campaigning for Democrats around the country to flip control of the Senate.

On the issues, however, there wasn’t a lot of daylight between Markey and Kennedy, who both talked about the importance of reaching people with mental health and substance use disorders before they break the law and end up in jail.

Markey discussed with one inmate his support for ending qualified immunity for police officers, and frequently mentioned Booker, a Black senator from New Jersey, as someone he has worked with to sponsor legislation like the Next Step Act, to overhaul sentencing, police tactics and training, and reentry programming.

The two Democrats also agreed with one inmate who said housing is an issue for people returning to the community from prison who often have no choice but to return to the violent neighborhoods and lifestyles that got them in trouble in the first place.

Markey said that to solve the problems of social justice in the court and prison systems the government has to provide more funding for housing that’s affordable and mental health services.

“A vision without funding is a hallucination,” Markey said.

Kennedy also said the federal government needs to look at the minimum wage and tipped wage laws nationwide to make it easier for people to provide for their families and hold on to the housing they have.

“Let’s make sure fewer people come into jails and prisons in the first place,” Kennedy told the inmates about his approach to recidivism and rehabilitation.

Kennedy has criticized Markey during the campaign for his vote for the 1994 crime bill signed by President Bill Clinton that has been blamed for the disproportionate incarceration of people of color through mandatory sentencing for drug crimes and other offenses.

Markey, in turn, has questioned Kennedy’s decision to work for conservative Republican District Attorney Michael O’Keefe on Cape Cod after Harvard University law school.

Kennedy and Markey both said the system of mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines must be revisited.

“It’s been real successful at putting people in jail. It has not been successful at all in mitigating the impact of drugs on our streets. And that needs to change,” Kennedy said.

Voters decide the Democratic contest between Kennedy and Markey on Sept. 1, and Tompkins called it “asininely stupid” that people with felony convictions cannot vote. The prohibition was approved by voters in 2000, by a two to one margin, as part of a constitutional amendment.

But even though some inmates might not be able to vote for either candidates, Markey and Kennedy said their voices are valuable.

“We have to think of you as part of a larger family,” Markey said. “You won’t be here forever. But you’ll be part of our community forever.”

Massachusetts State Police Investigate Fatal Crash on Route 195 in Dartmouth

This morning at about 5:18 a.m., troopers assigned to State Police-Dartmouth Barracks responded to a single motor vehicle rollover on Route 195 eastbound, a half mile west of Exit 12 in Dartmouth that resulted in the death of the operator.

Preliminary investigation by Trooper Orlando Riley indicates that Ruben Rivera, 23, of East Haven, Conn., was driving a 1996 Toyota Corolla at a speed greater than the posted speed limit in the left travel lane when, for reasons still under investigation, the vehicle swerved to the right and off the roadway into the woodline. The Corolla struck a tree, causing it to roll over, and the victim was ejected. The victim was determined to be deceased at the scene by Dartmouth EMS.

The right travel lane was closed approximately 2 hours.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation with assistance from members of the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, Crime Scene Services, the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

New Bedford one of eight Massachusetts cities to offer free COVID-19 testing

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the launch of free COVID-19 testing sites in eight communities from July 10 to August 14 to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The New Bedford free testing details:

This “Stop the Spread” initiative is a data-driven effort to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities that are above the state average in total cases and positive test rate, and have experienced a decline in testing levels since April. The initiative is being launched in Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford. Residents of these communities are urged to take advantage of the availability of these new testing sites, even if they are asymptomatic. While these sites are being launched in these communities, they are open to all residents of the Commonwealth.

“While the Commonwealth has made progress on reducing the overall positive test rate, there are still communities where the number of positive tests is above the average of the rest of the state,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Focusing our efforts to increase testing in these communities will help identify new cases and stop the spread. Residents of these communities, even those who are asymptomatic, are urged to take advantage of these new sites.”

“This initiative will provide widespread testing in easy to access community locations,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “If you live in these communities, please get tested to protect your family, loved ones and neighbors from COVID-19.”

“Increased testing within these communities will help to identify new cases of COVID-19 and break the chains of community transmission,” said COVID-19 Command Center Director & Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “As we move into the summer, we will continue to closely monitor positivity and testing rates across the Commonwealth.”

The population of the cities in which the free testing will be conducted – Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford – make up approximately 9% of the Commonwealth’s population, but have seen 27% of the Commonwealth’s positive tests in the last two weeks.

The statewide positive test rate over the past two weeks is approximately 2%, but in these eight communities, 8% of tests have been positive.

Despite the continued elevated spread in these communities, total testing in these communities has declined 39% since the end of April, and the total cases as a percentage of population for these communities is nearly double the state average.

Residents may visit to find testing locations.

Residents are reminded that if they test positive for COVID-19, please answer the call when they are contacted by the Community Tracing Collaborative or their local board of health. Also, any individual who needs a safe place to isolate can call (617) 367-5150 to access an isolation and recovery site at no cost.

Fourth of July weekend arrests in New Bedford lead to gun and drug charges

Separate arrests over the Fourth of July holiday weekend led to firearms and drug trafficking charges.

On July 3, detectives seized 54 grams of cocaine and $614 at 75 Crapo St. Apt. #1N. As a result, Jorge Duarte, 26, 75 Crapo St., Apt. #1N was charged with drug trafficking. He is currently on pre-trial probation for firearms offenses. Detective Kevin Barbosa investigated the case. 

75 Crapo Street in New Bedford.

On July 4, New Bedford police detectives charged Jayante Arthur Antone, 23, 7 Bannister St. Apt. #1, in the area of 815 S. First St. for illegally carrying a firearm. This is a subsequent offense.

If you have any information on criminal activity in your community, the New Bedford Police Dept. wants to hear from you. You can leave an anonymous tip on our voicemail at (508) 991-6300 Ext. 1.

New Law Sets in Motion Mail-In, Early Voting Options in Massachusetts

Chris Lisinski
State House News Service

A dramatic expansion of mail-in and early voting in Massachusetts is now law, and Secretary of State William Galvin is now preparing to quickly mail applications to all 4.5 million of the state’s registered voters by a deadline next week.

Galvin announced late Monday afternoon that Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law the reforms drafted during the pandemic and aimed at ensuring maximum participation while allowing people to choose voting options and minimize their COVID-19 risks. This election season, for the first time in the state’s history, all voters who wish to do so will be able to cast a ballot via mail without needing to qualify for an absentee ballot. By July 15, Galvin’s office must send applications for mail-in primary election ballots to all voters. His staff will then need to send another round of applications in September for the general election.

The new law also creates the state’s first-ever early voting period before a primary election, from Aug. 22 to Aug. 28, and expands general election early voting to run from Oct. 17 to Oct. 30. A six-member legislative conference committee reached a deal last week after both branches passed their own reform bills. The House passed the compromise legislation 157-1, with only Dracut Democratic Rep. Colleen Garry voting against it, while the Senate approved the measure unanimously.

Baker had until Sunday to decide whether to sign, veto or return the bill with an amendment. By signing it Monday, he gave Galvin more than a week to meet the July 15 application-mailing deadline rather than only a few days. Baker had offered few hints about his thinking on the topic. In late May, he questioned the urgency of the issue, arguing that “the elections are a long way away.”

New Bedford woman arrested for breaking into car on Fourth of July

On Saturday, July 4, 2020, at approximately 3:44 a.m., while patrolling the Allen Street area, Dartmouth Police Officer Brian Parent reports observing a female, subsequently identified as 32-year old Cassie Mandeville of Purchase Street in New Bedford, breaking into a vehicle.

As a result of the incident, Mandeville was placed under arrest and is charged with a felony count of breaking and entering into a vehicle during the nighttime. In addition, Mandeville also had three outstanding arrest warrants, all of which were related to breaking and entering.

According to Dartmouth Chief of Police, Brian P. Levesque, “This arrest is the direct result of the dogged determination of our Patrol Division to prevent crime 24/7. As it is inherently difficult to catch someone in the act of committing a crime, this arrest is the perfect example of an officer remaining both vigilant and knowledgeable of the area which he or she is responsible for patrolling.”

As car breaks are a constant issue, the Dartmouth Police Department continues to encourage residents to remain proactive in monitoring their security systems and locking their vehicles.

St. Anne’s Lends $2.75 Million to Local Entrepreneur through the FHLB Jobs for New England Program

St. Anne’s Credit Union, a single source for financial services, financing options and resources for individuals and businesses, announced that they have assisted Stephen Silverstein, owner of The Black Whale, co-owner of Cisco New Bedford, founder of Not Your Average Joe’s and owner of Joe’s Original in Dartmouth, in obtaining $2.75 million in below market-rate financing through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s (FHLBank Boston) Jobs for New England program. The loan will assist Silverstein in improving, diversifying and stabilizing the economy of New Bedford while creating and preserving jobs through his business efforts. Cisco New Bedford is expected to open in April of 2021.

Cisco Kitchen + Bar Rendering by Accentric.

The $2.75 million secured by St. Anne’s on behalf of Silverstein comes as interest rate reducing financing and will lock in an unprecedented rate of 2.42% for several years. Stephen Silverstein stated, “St. Anne’s is the best banking advocate of my businesses, truly an incomparable financial partner. I was not aware of this program when the commercial lending team at St. Anne’s contacted me in regards to this incredible opportunity and took care of everything for me. As a 5th generation entrepreneur, I’ve been around the business industry since I was born — and this is by far the best interest rate I’ve ever had in my life. I always trust that St. Anne’s has my best interest in mind and this latest effort solidified this notion even further as these incremental savings are crucial to launching and sustaining my projects.”

In addition to the $5 million that St. Anne’s has committed to lend Silverstein to assist him in funding his three restaurants in the New Bedford area, this financing obtained by the Credit Union will allow Silverstein to see a savings of over $75,000 over the life of the loan as well as create 25 new jobs for the New Bedford community.

“Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Jobs for New England program was created to provide members like St. Anne’s Credit Union with the low-cost financing they need to offer below market-rate small business loans to their members. Since the program was launched in 2016, participating members have provided attractively-priced business loans to a wide variety of small businesses, which in turn have helped to preserve or create thousands of jobs. We are pleased to support St. Anne’s as they’ve funded this important economic development initiative,” said Ken Willis, senior vice president, director of housing and community investment at FHLBank Boston.

“To ease uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic, we are proud to work with our members and businesses through initiatives like deferring loan payments, our COVID-19 Assistance Loan, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the FHLBank Boston Jobs for New England program to offer below market-rate financing. With all of our assistance efforts, we have been able to grant our members and their businesses over $21 million in loans, which for many, has been a saving grace,” said Peter Panaggio, St. Anne’s Credit Union’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “St. Anne’s is proud to support our members by providing funding that will truly make a difference in the communities we serve in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – and this latest loan is an example of our deep commitment to the SouthCoast, as it will assist Stephen Silverstein in stimulating the local economy.”

To learn more about how St. Anne’s can help your business thrive, visit the Credit Union’s dedicated lending office at 585 State Road in Dartmouth or call 508.730.LOAN.

Free mask distribution in New Bedford continues with more ward-based drive-through events

MaskNB, an initiative announced earlier this year by Mayor Jon Mitchell in partnership with the Southeastern Massachusetts chapter of the American Red Cross and Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Corporation, announces additional mask distribution in July and August with more drive-through distribution events at the three New Bedford middle schools’ parking lots.

Distribution of free masks as part of MaskNB began in May and has continued with more than 52,000 masks provided to New Bedford residents.

Walk-up distribution events in several neighborhoods are also planned for neighborhood residents.

The ward-based distribution will continue by an organized drive-through system for cars, observing social distancing, in the New Bedford middle schools’ parking lots. Residents are asked to limit their mask requests to those in their household and/or any elderly or vulnerable neighbors.

Any resident who is unsure of the Ward in which they live may visit and enter their address. This website provides polling location, and the first information noted is the Ward in which the resident lives. Residents do not need to be registered voters to use this online tool.

Continuing Ward-Based Mask Distribution at City’s Middle Schools

Under the MaskNB distribution plan, interested residents in each of the City’s six Wards will have an opportunity to obtain free cloth face masks on the following assigned dates in these locations:

Wards 1 & 2

Saturday, July 18 – 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Normandin Middle School, 81 Felton Street (use Orleans Street entrance)

Wards 3 & 4

Saturday, August 1 – 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Keith Middle School, 225 Hathaway Boulevard

Wards 5 & 6

Saturday, August 8 – 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Roosevelt Middle School, 119 Frederick Street

Neighborhood Level Walk-Up Mask Distribution

Four neighborhood walk-up distribution events are planned in neighborhoods across New Bedford for residents of those neighborhoods only. These smaller distribution events will be held at pop-up tents and observe social distancing in public spaces across the city on the following assigned dates in these locations:

– Riverside Park– Tuesday, July 7 – 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
– Ashley Park– Tuesday, July 21 – 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
– Serenity Gardens– Thursday, July 30 – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
– Loretta Bourque Park – Thursday, August 13 – 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon

Additional dates may be announced based on available supplies.

Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the MaskNB initiative on May 14. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the wearing of cloth face coverings in public where social distancing is difficult to maintain; cloth face coverings are not a substitute for medical-grade masks, but provide more protection against the spread of viruses than not covering one’s face. More information about the use and effectiveness of cloth face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is available at

Massachusetts barrels ahead with next phase of reopening on Monday

Chris Lisinski
State House News Service

Massachusetts will move into the third phase of its gradual plan to revive public activity in most of the state on Monday, allowing gyms, museums, movie theaters, and more to resume some operations even as COVID cases surge in other parts of the country.

The Baker administration’s decision shifts Massachusetts toward the leading edge of states on the path to reopening, pushing forward despite peers pumping the brakes on their own progress due to concerns about massive outbreaks in the south and west.

Citing positive trends in public health data, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that he is confident the state can loosen restrictions without prompting an infection rebound because bars and nightclubs will remain closed and because residents and businesses continue to abide by safety precautions.

“The success is due in no small part to the vigilance and dedication that has been shown by the people of Massachusetts, but we should not and cannot slow down or step back now,” Baker said. “We know that COVID-19 won’t be taking any time off this summer, and we need to maintain vigilance if we wish to continue to move forward.”

Phase 3 will consist of two smaller steps, though administration officials have not yet announced when the second portion will start. The loosened restrictions in the first step will take effect in Boston on July 13, one week after every other community in Massachusetts.

Under the first step, movie theaters, museums, fitness centers and some indoor recreation facilities that have all been closed since mid-March will be allowed to reopen so long as they follow industry-specific protocols.

Most will face capacity limits and mandatory cleaning requirements. Indoor and outdoor events such as weddings or parties will not be allowed to open bars or dance floors.

“Going to the gym may not look the same the way it did before the pandemic, but we hope these new protocols will allow more residents to return to exercise and fitness and get back into those routines that they were accustomed to,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said at a press conference alongside Baker and other cabinet officials.

The administration will also update restrictions on gatherings to allow more people to congregate, starting Monday statewide and July 13 in Boston.

Indoor gatherings will be capped at eight people per 1,000 square feet with a maximum of 25, while outdoor enclosed gatherings will be limited to 25 percent of permitted capacity with a maximum of 100. Caps do not apply to unenclosed outdoor events, such as backyard parties or park visits.

Baker said the next step along the path toward the new normal will bring back “some bigger players that will certainly draw more people into indoor settings,” where public health experts say the risk of COVID transmission is far greater than outdoors. That underlines the importance of individual caution, he said.

Phase 3 will last longer than the other phases, and Baker reiterated Thursday that the fourth and final section will not begin until treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19 is available.

Professional sports teams will be permitted to host games without spectators in Massachusetts as part of Phase 3, though Baker said he is “not prepared to sign off” on any plans to bring fans back.

Health care providers will also face a changed landscape in the next phase. Some group treatment programs and day programs that had not been allowed for months can resume, such as community-based day services for adults with intellectual and cognitive disabilities and substance abuse services.

MassHealth telehealth service will continue through the end of 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said Thursday, and the administration continues to encourage remote medical appointments “whenever feasible.”

State officials will also update visitation guidelines for the next step in the reopening plan. Starting Monday, 24/7 congregate care programs will need to follow less strict distancing requirements, while long-term care facilities including nursing homes and assisted living residences can start allowing minimum visits of 30 minutes rather than 10 minutes.

“We know that some of the measures that were put into place to keep residents safe, including restricting visitations, have been incredibly difficult on family members and friends who wanted to visit loved ones,” Sudders said. “I’m certain that this is welcome news ahead of the holiday weekend.”

Baker, who said he had received “heartbreaking” letters from residents who could not visit their family in long-term care facilities, said he planned to visit his father in such a home during the holiday weekend.

The governor had initially said he wanted to track two weeks of data from indoor dining before deciding when to start the next phase, but Thursday’s announcement comes only 10 days after dine-in restaurant service resumed.

Asked if he had enough of a sense of indoor dining’s impact, Baker said the “overwhelming response we’ve gotten from the folks we’ve talked to is that people are abiding by the rules.”

State leaders are moving forward with confidence, buoyed by a massive drop in the average positive test rate to near or below 2 percent and a decline in the number of hospitalized COVID patients 79 percent below the mid-April surge period. Those indicators come alongside a death toll above 8,000.

Elsewhere in the United States, though, the virus is reaching new heights. Driven by rapidly growing outbreaks in Florida, Texas, Arizona and other southern and western states, the country has observed a higher average of new daily cases over the past week-plus than ever before, even as deaths continue to slowly decelerate.

“We find ourselves in an important place in time as a Commonwealth as we start to see what a new normal will look like, even while other states are sadly struggling to bring the virus under control,” Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said at Thursday’s press conference.

Most northeast states, which were home to devastating outbreaks in the spring, are on positive trends similar to that in Massachusetts. In some, leaders have responded to the worsening national infection numbers by slowing some reopening progress.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said this week he would pause plans to resume indoor dining due to concerns about the rest of the country, though on Thursday he increased allowable capacity for indoor gatherings to a maximum of 100 and for outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 500, both far above what Baker will allow.

Baker told reporters his administration’s plan has undergone rigorous review from medical experts, and he said he does not think Massachusetts will experience a similar surge as other states because of how the reopening is structured and because residents have remained committed to precautions.

Bars and nightclubs will not open until Phase 4, which Baker described as a key step to ensure safety.

“The primary driver of much of the significant increase in positive tests in a number of states has been the reopening of bars and nightclubs,” Baker said. “Obviously bars and nightclubs are sitting in Phase 4 under our guidance, and there was a reason for that: as difficult as it is for the people who operate and work in those institutions, we could not figure out a way to do that safely.”

Business groups reacted to the announcement with mixed feelings, with the National Federation of Independent Business of Massachusetts saying the good news comes amid “many shops and restaurants closing their doors permanently.”

The right-leaning Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, which has been one of Baker’s most vocal critics during the state of emergency, said the next stage of reopening “is the best gift Massachusetts taxpayers can give our country on its Birthday.”

“With over 100 days being locked down, and Phase 3 beginning on Monday, the Governor is finally putting his faith in the people of Massachusetts to make the best decisions for themselves,” MFA spokesman Paul Craney said in a press release. “Every day that goes by, it’s clearer that this lockdown is yesterday’s news and it should never happen again.”

Member of Latin Kings New Bedford Chapter Charged with Unlawful Possession of Firearm Following Robbery

A member of the New Bedford Chapter of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (“Latin Kings”) was charged today will illegal firearm possession following an investigation into an armed robbery in New Bedford and a shooting in Boston.

Ramon Martinez, a/k/a “King Razor,” 26, was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Martinez, who is currently in custody in Bristol County, will make his initial appearance in federal court at a later date.

According to charging documents, on April 30, 2020, a victim reported to police that he had been robbed and punched in New Bedford by two men who were in a black Ford Fusion. The men put a knife to the victim’s back and stole his wallet and motorized scooter. The victim was allegedly targeted because he beeped his horn at a friend and the men in the Ford Fusion believed that the victim was honking at them. During the investigation, Martinez, a known member of the Latin Kings, was identified as one of the robbers and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

According to court documents, also on April 30, 2020, police responded to a report of shots-fired in the area of Callender Street in Boston where three .45 caliber casings were recovered. Investigators viewed Martinez’s SnapChat account and observed postings related to this shooting incident.

It is further alleged that, on May 7, 2020, police observed Martinez exit a residence on Crapo Street in New Bedford and walk to the rear of a black Ford Fusion. They observed Martinez open the trunk and quickly close it, and then get into a nearby vehicle. Officers stopped the vehicle, placed Martinez under arrest for the April 30th armed robbery and located a set of keys for the Ford Fusion. In the trunk of the Fusion, officers located a Glock Model 30S .45 caliber firearm with four rounds of ammunition. Preliminary testing linked the Glock Model 30S to the casings recovered on Callender Street in Boston.

Due to multiple prior convictions, Martinez is prohibited from possessing firearms. Martinez was also known to investigators to be a member of the New Bedford Chapter of the Latin Kings.

The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New England Field Division; New Bedford Police Chief Joseph C. Cordeiro; and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip A. Mallard of Lelling’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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