A leader of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (“Latin Kings”) pleaded guilty today to conspiracy charges.
Joel Francisco, a/k/a “King Casper,” 42, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled sentencing for March 3, 2021. Francisco was arrested and charged in December 2019, at which time he was identified as a leader of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Latin Kings.
During the plea proceedings, Francisco admitted that in August 2019, he conspired with others to purchase cocaine from members of the Latin Kings in New Bedford for resale. On Sept. 4, 2019, Francisco was captured in a video recording purchasing approximately 186 grams of cocaine from members of the New Bedford Chapter in a deal facilitated by a co-conspirator.
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.
In December 2019, a federal grand jury returned an indictment alleging racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy and firearms charges against 62 leaders, members and associates of the Latin Kings. Joel Francisco is the 22nd defendant to plead guilty in the case.
The conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, supervised release for a minimum of three years, up to life, and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the FBI North Shore Gang Task Force and the Bristol County and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Offices. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip A. Mallard and Mark Grady of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.