New Bedford Latin King Admits Involvement in Shooting
BOSTON — A former New Bedford gang member has pleaded guilty to racketeering charges after admitting his involvement in gang activity, including a May 2018 shooting in the city.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said 40-year-old Luis Mendez, known as "King Primo," pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy or racketeering charges on Wednesday.
Mendez is a former member of the New Bedford chapter of the Latin Kings, a criminal enterprise with thousands of members nationwide.
The highly organized and hierarchical gang deals drugs to generate revenue and engages in violence against witnesses and rival gangs, according to the attorney's office.
Mendez admitted to participating in a city shooting in May 2018 that targeted two victims who objected to gang members dealing drugs in their driveway.
As the victims got into their vehicle, Mendez and other Latin Kings members surrounded them, slashed the tires and kicked the doors.
Another gang member fired at least four gunshots into the vehicle, hitting both victims.
Both victims escaped and were treated for life-threatening injuries at a nearby hospital.
Intercepted messages between Mendez and other local gang members discussed how the victims had been intimidated into not attending court proceedings or cooperating with prosecutors.
Mendez also took part in distributing drugs for the New Bedford Latin Kings out of multi-family apartment buildings known as “trap houses.”
He and 62 other gang leaders, members and associates were caught in a large-scale operation in December 2019.
Mendez is the 55th defendant to plead guilty in the case.
He faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 2, 2022.