A member of MS-13’s East Boston Loco Salvatrucha (EBLS) clique pleaded guilty in connection with the assault of a rival gang member in East Boston.
Christian Alvarado, a/k/a “Catracho,” 28, of East Boston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as racketeering or RICO conspiracy, and conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for July 6, 2017.
After a three-year investigation, Alvarado was one of 61 persons named in a January 2016 superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. As alleged in court documents, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the group. Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder gang rivals whenever possible.
On May 11, 2008, Alvarado and other MS-13 members, including fellow EBLS member Edgar Pleitez, also known as “Cadejo,” attempted to murder a gang rival by beating him near a soccer stadium in East Boston. Alvarado also allegedly conspired with Santos Portillo-Andrade, also known as “Flaco,” the leader of the EBLS clique, and Pleitez to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. On several occasions in August 2015, Alvarado and Pleitez were recorded selling heroin to a cooperating witness. In addition, using a court-authorized wiretap, federal agents intercepted telephone calls between Alvarado and Portillo-Andrade in which the two men allegedly discussed selling a half-kilogram of heroin for $26,000. On Oct. 26, 2015, agents followed Alvarado and Portillo-Andrade to the sale, after which, the agents stopped Alvarado and Portillo-Andrade’s car and seized $26,000 in cash as well as a loaded firearm and a machete.
The RICO conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and no greater than 40 years in prison, a minimum of four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $8 million.
Alvarado is the thirteenth defendant to plead guilty in this case. Other defendants have pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy, drug trafficking, document fraud, and immigration offenses.
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