• 14 alleged gang members charged with violent crimes in Massachusetts

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Members and associates of "Primeiro Comando da Massachusetts" gang with Brazilian ties faced a federal judge Thursday, accused of drug and firearms trafficking, robberies and kidnappings in Massachusetts, authorities said.

    The accused gang members were residing in several area communities when they were arrested, including in Boston, Stoughton, Malden, Everett, Somerville, Brighton, and Chelsea and formerly in Whitman, Framingham and Revere.

    Several were living in the country illegally, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement.

    Authorities also seized 27 handguns, two sawed-off shotguns, one shotgun, one rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition during the sweep. 

    “Violent gangs that proliferate violence are a scourge on our communities,” Lelling said. “Over recent months, members and associates of Primeiro Comando da Massachusetts have been committing serious, violent crimes: brazenly robbing community businesses, dealing drugs, trafficking illegal firearms, and even kidnapping a young woman."

    "We will not standby and allow these criminals to disrupt the safety and peace of our communities," Lelling said. "Let today’s arrests and charges be a message to gang members and their associates: if you threaten the safety and well-being of Massachusetts residents, we will arrest and prosecute you using all of the federal resources at our disposal.” 

    The following people were charged: 

    • Marcio Costa, a/k/a “Marcino” and “Marcinn,” 28, of Malden, the alleged leader of PCM, was charged with RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license;
    • Joao Pedro Marques Guimares Gama, a/k/a “Bahianinho,” 21, a Brazilian national illegally residing in Malden, was charged with RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to commit robbery, engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and being an alien in possession of a firearm;
    • Breno Henrique DaSilva, 20, a Brazilian national illegally residing in Somerville, was charged with RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to commit robbery, and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances;
    • Alvaro Dos Santos Melo, 22, a Brazilian national illegally residing in Everett, was arrested and charged with RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to commit robbery, and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances;
    • Edson DaSilva, 19, previously resided in Whitman and is currently in state custody on kidnapping and firearms charges, and was federally charged with RICO conspiracy and robbery;
    • Igor Costa, 20, previously resided in Framingham and is currently in state custody, and was federally charged with RICO conspiracy and robbery;
    • Vinicius Goncalves de Assis, previously resided in Revere and is currently in state custody, and was federally charged with RICO conspiracy;
    • Rodrigo Tevares, 19, a Brazilian nation illegally residing in Stoughton, was charged with being an alien in possession of a firearm and engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license;
    • Rony DaFreitas, 21, of Lowell, was charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license;
    • Elwood Cortes-Navedo, 23, of Lowell, was charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license;
    • Fernando DeOliveira, 24, a Brazilian nation illegally residing in Brighton, was charged with being an alien in possession of a firearm and engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license;
    • Mouad Nessassi, 21, of Boston, was charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base, and possession of an unregistered firearm;
    • Fadwa Chimal, 19, was arrested and charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license; 
    • Jennifer Romero, 26, of Chelsea, was charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license and distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base.

    According to court documents, in September 2018, federal, state and local law enforcement began investigating members and associates of PCM, a gang with Brazilian ties that first appeared in Massachusetts two years ago.

    Its members are accused of violent crimes including the illegal sale of firearms, drug trafficking, robberies, kidnappings and armed assaults in numerous communities in Massachusetts, including Boston, Malden, Everett, Somerville, Framingham, and Peabody, among others. During the investigation, law enforcement seized 31 firearms, including 27 handguns, two sawed-off shotguns, one shotgun, one rifle and several hundred rounds of ammunition.

    The defendants allegedly committed various criminal offenses, some of which they admitted to cooperating witnesses, Lelling said. For example, Gama told cooperating witnesses that PCM not only committed robberies in Massachusetts, but also had targeted and robbed a drug dealer and his family in Connecticut. Gama stated that during the robbery, he held a gun to the head of the dealer’s daughter. In addition, during the investigation, Costa allegedly discussed a planned armed robbery with an undercover federal agent and repeatedly stated that it was likely that the gang members/associates would commit murder as part of the robbery.

    Additional robberies alleged by the court documents include: an Oct. 18, 2018, armed robbery of a market in Boston committed by Goncalves; a Dec. 9, 2018, armed robbery of a pizza delivery person in Everett committed by DaSilva; and a Jan. 17, 2019, armed robbery of a gas station in Weymouth committed by Igor Costa. In addition, on Feb. 7, 2019, DaSilva and Henrique were involved in the kidnapping of a young woman who they believed could help them target a rival gang member. DaSilva and Henrique lured the young woman out of a residence in Peabody and eventually took her to a residence in Maynard where she was held at gunpoint and threatened. A cooperating witness alerted law enforcement, who responded to the scene and eventually arrested DaSilva.

    On numerous occasions in 2018 and 2019, the defendants illegally sold firearms and drugs to cooperating witnesses, Lelling said.

    In addition to the 14 charged criminally, four individuals were arrested by ICE Thursday.

    If convicted of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery, the accused face up to 20 years in prison for each charge, three years of supervised release, fines of $250,000 and restitution.

    If convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, the accused face up to 20 years in prison, at least three years up to life supervised release, and a fine of $1 million.

    If convicted of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, the accused face up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

    If convicted of an alien possessing a firearm, the accused face up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

    If convicted of distributing 28 grams or more of cocaine base, the accused face at least five and up to 40 years in prison, at least four up to life supervised release, and a fine of $2 million.

    If convicted of possessing an unregistered firearm, the accused face up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $10,000.

    Defendants illegally in the U.S. will be subject to deportation proceedings, Lelling said.  

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