BOSTON - Federal charges are being filed against four alleged Latin Kings gang members known to operate out of New Bedford.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 37-year-old Rafael Reyes, 29-year-old Virgilio Adorno, and 23-year-old Avimael Ortiz all face federal-level drug charges. 28-year-old Jonathan Garcia remains a fugitive.

The four were charged Thursday as a result of a long term investigation into narcotics sales in the New Bedford area.

According to court documents, over the past eight months, the defendants sold drugs in New Bedford to cooperating witnesses and undercover officers in the Bonneau Court area nicknamed "the pit." The U.S. Attorney's Office says the area has been plagued by drug dealing and violent crime that is controlled by the Latin Kings.

The charges include:

  • Rafael Reyes, 30, charged with possession of cocaine, cocaine base, and fentanyl with intent to distribute;
  • Virgilio Adorno, 29, charged with distribution of cocaine base; and
  • Avimael Ortiz, 23, charged with distribution of cocaine base.
  • Jonathan Garcia, 28, charged with distribution of cocaine base.

The charge of distribution of cocaine base provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, eight years of supervised release and a fine of $8 million. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.