February 20, 2021 – Three more Latin Kings in Massachusetts have pleaded guilty to federal drug and racketeering charges related to 2019’s Operation Throne Down while another one was sentenced. The landmark case, ensnaring over 60 Latin Kings in all, has been a home run for prosecutors, effectively dismantling practically the Latin Kings’ entire east coast hierarchy.
This past week, The Latin Kings boss inside the Massachusetts prison system, Frutoso (King Tutti Fruity) Barros, pleaded guilty in the case, as did New Bedford chapter members, Roberto (King Royalty) Vargas and Shelton (King Shell Casings) Johnson, bringing the total of guilty pleas already racked up in Operation Throne Down to 36, which makes up more than half of the co-defendants indicted 14 months ago.
Dante (King Nasty) Lara, 29, from Boston’s Devon Street Latin Kings chapter, was given two years in prison after a November plea deal back on Monday. The Latin Kings’ “North Shore” chapter boss in Massachusetts, Israel (King Imperial) Rodriguez, pleaded guilty in the case earlier this month.
The No. 1 defendant in the case, Springfield’s Michael (King Merlin) Cecchetelli, is the Latin Kings east coast region shot caller, according to the indictment. Cecchetelli has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Even though the Latin Kings are mainly a Hispanic criminal organization, Cecchetelli has risen through the ranks as an Italian. Per court documents, the 41-year old King Merlin reports directly to Latin Kings national administration council in Chicago and is connected to the Genovese crime family out of New York via the Genovese syndicate’s Western Massachusetts wing.
In other Latin Kings news from the region, Hartford chapter Latin King Jason (King Hood) Figueroa received a seven-year prison term for a separate 2020 federal drugs and gun case out of Connecticut. Figueroa, 31, copped his plea back in the days before last Thanksgiving.