WSAR NEWS

The Latin Kings Takedown

Over 60 Members of Latin Kings Charged


Members of the East Coast and Massachusetts leadership arrested


BOSTON – The East Coast and Massachusetts leadership of the Almighty Latin Kings and Queen Nation (Latin Kings), including more than 60 members and associates, face federal charges. 

 

This morning, over 500 federal, state and local law enforcement officers arrested dozens of Latin Kings members and associates and executed 31 search warrants at 24 locations. 

 

According to court documents, the Eastern Region of the Latin Kings encompasses local chapters in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and various other states along the eastern seaboard from Maryland to Florida. There are 11 active Latin Kings Chapters operating in Massachusetts: D5K (Boston), Morton Street Bricks (Boston), New Bedford, Springfield, Lynn/Salem, Chelsea, Lowell, Lawrence, Worcester, Fitchburg and within the Department of Corrections.

 

Criminal activity in the Eastern Region is led by Michael Cecchetelli, a/k/a “King Merlin, 40, of Springfield, who holds the title of Supreme East Coast Regional Overseer. Cecchetelli is alleged to be the conduit between each of the Eastern Region states and the Latin Kings national leadership in Chicago. He developed a leadership approach to the gang which has become a model for other Latin Kings regions of the country. 

 

The Latin Kings adhere to a national manifesto, employ an internal judiciary, and use a sophisticated system of communication to maintain the hierarchy of the criminal organization. As alleged in court documents, the gang uses drug distribution to generate revenue, and is motivated by a desire to further its influence and to protect its turf from rival gangs. This has fostered a culture of institutional violence and secrecy.

 

During the four-year investigation, law enforcement developed evidence that the Latin Kings trafficked drugs, conspired to murder more than 10 victims, and committed violent crimes including numerous incidents of robbery, shootings, stabbings and witness intimidation.

 

The RICO conspiracy charge provides a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Depending on the drug quantity, the drug trafficking conspiracy and distribution charges provide for a sentence of up to 20 years, 40 years, or life, a minimum of three, four or five years of supervised release and fines of $1 million, $5 million and $10 million. The charge of felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition

provides a sentence of up to 10 years, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

 

Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

 

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the FBI North Shore Gang Task Force, Bristol County and Suffolk County District Attorney’s Offices.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Cannon and Philip Mallard of Lelling’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit are prosecuting the cases.

 

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Addendum

 

            The following defendants have been charged:

 

 

Defendant

Role

1

Michael Cecchetelli, King Merlin

 

East Coast Team,

East Coast Overseer 

2

Esther Ortiz, Queen India

Meriden, CT

East Coast Team,

East Coast Crown Council Chairwoman

3

Hector Manuel Vega, King Demon

Britian, CT

East Coast Team,

Crown Council Member, CT

4

Jorge Rodriguez, King G

State Team, Cacique

Enforcer (Former)

5

Michael Marrero, King Clumsy

State Team, Enforcer

Regional Officer (Former)

6

Francisco Lopez, King Cisco

Chelsea, Mass.

State Team, Treasurer/Secretary

7

Gregory Peguero-Colon, King Trece

Springfield, Mass.

State Team,

Crown Council Chairman

8

Juan Liberato, King Prodigy

Haverhill, Mass.

State Team, Inca (Former)

9

Angel Roldan, King Big-A and Nelty

Lowell, Mass.

State Team, Cacique (Former)

Enforcer (Former)

10

Frutuoso Barros, King Fruity

DOC, Supreme Regional Officer

11

Sandra Correa, Queen Dream

Peabody, Mass.

DOC, Secretary (Former)

12

Shaun Harrison Rev

DOC, Member

13

Vincent Dzierwinski, King Vice

DOC, Member

14

Wilson Peguero, King Dubb

Dorchester, Mass.

D5K, Inca

15

Alexis Peguero, King Lexi/Looney

Dorchester, Mass.

D5K, Cacique

16

Matthew Palacios, King Nene

D5K, Enforcer

17

Steven Familia-Valdez, King Haze

Mattapan, Mass.

D5K, Member

18

Dante Lara, King Nasty

Providence, RI

D5K, Member

19

Robert Lara,  King Rizz

Chelsea, Mass.

D5K, Member

20

Angel Abymael Ortiz, King Abby

Randolph, Mass.

D5K, Member

21

Angel Rodriguez, King Ace

Dorchester, Mass.

D5K, Member

Crown Council Chairman for Boston

22

Alexis Velasquez, King Booboo

Dorchester, Mass.

MSB, Inca

23

Angel Calderon, King Bam

MSB,

(Former) State Team Head of Security

24

Oscar Pena, King O-Block

D5K, Member

25

Jose Rodriguez, King Stutter

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, Inca

26

Orlando Santiago-Torres, King Landi

New Bedford, Cacique

27

Robert Avitabile a/k/a Bobby

New Bedford, Associate

28

Taliyah Barboza, Queen Taliyah

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, Member

29

Josue Carrasquillo, King Playboy

Springfield, Mass.

New Bedford, Member

30

Michael Cotto, King Gordo

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, (Former) Regional Officer

31

Juan Figueroa, King Pun

Dorchester, Mass.

New Bedford, Member

32

Issac Felix-Rivera, King Izzy

New Bedford, Member

33

Kevin Guadalupe, King Milly

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, Member

34

Shelton Johnson, King Shells

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, Member

35

Tyson Jorge, King Music

New Bedford, Member

36

Emanuel Lopez-Velez, King Manny

New Bedford, Probationary Member

37

Luis Mendez, King Primo

New Bedford, Member, Incarcerated

38

Raekwan Paris, King D-Bo

New Bedford, Member

39

Jayco Reyes-Smith, King Javy

Former New Bedford Member, now in North Carolina

40

Luis Santiago, King Tiny

New Bedford, Member, Incarcerated

41

Roberto Vargas, King Royalty

New Bedford, Member

42

Jose Vasquez, King Fearless

New Bedford, Member

43

Natanel Velazquez, King Nael

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, Member

44

Israel Rodriguez, King Imperial

Lynn, Mass.

North Shore, Inca

45

Alfred Nieves, King Alfy

Lowell, Mass.

Lowell, Inca

46

Marlon Rivera, King Pluto

Fitchburg, Member

D5K, Founder

47

Ines Lugo, Queen China

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, Secretary

48

Jeremia Medina, King Sweepy

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, Enforcer

49

Bienvenido Nunez, King Apache

Enfield, CT

State Team, Inca

50

Tanairy Ruiz, Queen Tanairy

New Bedford, Mass.

New Bedford, Member

51

Xavier Valentin-Soto, King X

New Bedford, Member

(Former) Cascique, Incarcerated

52

Joel Francisco, King Casper

Rhode Island, Member

53

Eric Thomas, King E

Rhode Island, Inca

 

54

Alvin Mojica, King Humble

Worcester, Inca

55

Sophia Velasquez, Queen Sophia

Fitchburg, Member

 

56

Dairon Rivera, King Mafia

Fitchburg, Member

57

Hector Adorno, King Gordo

Springfield, Member

58

Jesus Diaz, King Kiko

N. Shore, Member

59

Henry Caribe, King 40cal

N. Shore, Member

60

Jonathan Cassiano, King Legend

Springfield, Member

61

Antoine Goodson

Associate, gun supplier to gang

62

Derek Southworth

Associate, gun supplier to gang

JCII Trial in 2020?

If the Federal Magistrate Judge in the case of soon-to-be-former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II, and his former Campaign Manager and Chief of Staff Gen Andrade signs off on the idea, the two could have opening arguments in their respective trials on June 1 2020, nearly two years after Correia was first arrested and charged with Tax and Wire Fraud in 2018. 

 

Defense Attorneys for each defendant and federal attorneys have been trying to hammer out a suitable trial date after some 74,000 pages of documents were part of a super seeding indictment that was filed in September 2019


(the photo for this story was first published by the Fall River Herald News). 

35th Annual Children's Holiday Parade In Fall River On Saturday

The 35th Annual Fall River Children’s Holiday Parade Committee and Greater Fall River RE-Creation are pleased to invite the public to kick-off the holidays in Fall River on Saturday, December 7th at 1:00 p.m.

 

Parade Route:  Kennedy Park down South Main Street ending at the corner of Central and Bedford Streets. Marchers will check-in at the parade tent at the corner of Bradford Ave and South Main Street no later than 11:30 a.m.  Floats and large vehicles will check-in no later than 10 a.m. at the corner of Bradford Avenue and Broadway. 

 

Highlights:

·             One of the largest Children’s Holiday Parade in New England 

·             A number of High School Bands throughout New England, Bagpipe Bands, Drum and Bugle Corps, Brass Bands, including the Saints Brigade Drum & Bugle Corps from New York, the Hallamore Clydesdale Horses. Cranberry Knoll Arabian Horses, 4 Giant Parade Balloons, Local Fire and Police Departments, 30 Beautifully Decorated Floats and Large Vehicles, 42 Marching Units, 49 Vehicles, 13 Bands and many costume characters 

·             Veterans special recognition on this 75th Anniversary of D-Day 

·             Santa arrives at 12:45 p.m. and will head up South Main Street towards Kennedy Park

Sec Zetta Bringing New Jobs To Fall River

At one of the final Fall River City Council sessions of the calendar year the eight-member group approved a tax increment financing agreement for a Rhode Island software firm that is looking to leave their current home base in Newport and relocate to Fall River.

 

The final agreement comes with an amendment for a local hiring preference tacked on. 

 

"We believe relocating to Fall River is the right move for us."

 

Jason Hobart, as the firm’s Senior Vice President, said this to the city council during his case of why Fall River is right for Sec Zetta.

 

"Our software, applications and everything that we do helps organizations - large, small, private or public - address the challenges associated with data breaches,” Hobart said. “We help them avoid data breaches and control the information that they're sharing with their non-employees and contractors.” 

 

The Senior Vice President state a list of credible contractors.

 

“We have customers that include Synchrony Bank, the Mayo Clinic, BBVA, Blue Cross of Idaho, Harvard-Pilgrim in Tiffany among many others,” Hobart said. “Of course, we're in the process of continuing to sell to and finalize several more large contracts as we go into this year."

 

The firm, Sec Zetta, was formed back in 2006. It is using $10 million of investment capital to grow its company. 

 

"We'll be moving 23 jobs to Fall River over the next 5 years and create 70 new jobs totaling to 93,” Hobart said. “A big piece of what we do, based on the specialized skills of the people we hire, we're excited to have an average starting salary of 60,000 dollars. Of course, that goes up based on experience and specialized skills."

 

City Councilor Stephen Long covered the numbers over the 5-year T.I.F.

 

"Over the course of five years, we're talking about 195,000 dollars in the first year, 310,000 in the second, 330,000 in the third, 335,000 in the fourth as well as in the fifth,” he said. “The percentages go 100 percent, 90 percent, 80 percent, 70 percent and 60 percent.” 

 

Long continued, “This being personal property and mostly high-tech electronics, the value on the personal property would come in on the first year as you bring it in but that would depreciate significantly in successive years."

 

Acting Fall River Mayor Cliff Ponte expressed his reservations about the T.I.F agreement being based on personal property taxes instead of more traditional real estate business.

Gasoline This Week

The price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the Commonwealth this week is up by two cents according to Triple A North east. 

 

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Massachusetts is at $2.51, seven below the national average of 2.58.

 

The Director of Public and Legislative Affairs for Triple A Northeast, Mary Maguire, says prices locally are lower than one year ago.

 

The range in prices in the latest Triple A Northeast Survey are at 83 cents, from a low of $2.26 to a high of $3.09 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parking Ban in Fall River Tonight

Fall River Acting Mayor Cliff Ponte has instituted a parking ban for the City of Fall River beginning tonight at 6pm EST and lasting TFN. 

 

Another round of snow and rain will last into Tuesday, with the potential of anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of snow. 

Fall River R.D.A Approves New Gas Station, Travel Center And Potential Restaurant

A new retail space with a gas station and potential restaurant located on the North Side of Fall River has been approved for eventual construction by the redevelopment authority. 

 

The new site which would include a travel center would be located on Innovation Way near the Fall River Industrial Park and the Life Sciences Component.

 

During the most recent session of the authority, the chair Kara O’Connell said the parties involved have already agreed on the basic framework.

 

"The board did authorize me to sit down with ll parties and attorneys regarding the purchase of the property on Innovation Way by Robert London,” she said. “We sat down for a few hours. Everybody hashed it out. The meeting went great. We had to make some changes and as you all know when they submitted their initial plans we did approve it."

 

Since this phase has been reached, O’Connell said future development is now a possibility.

 

"Now that they have actually submitted and there is more green, open space and there a lesser footprint for future development of a restaurant down the road on that property,” she claimed. “I would like to make a motion that we accept their change and final footprint of what they're going to build there for the retail space and gas station."

 

Future negotiations on a potential restaurant in the area could also happen.

 

"They're going to go ahead with a restaurant,” O’Connell said. “It will have to come back in front of us for us to approve that use. That wording is in there."

 

With the turnover recently, Fall River’s R.D.A is looking for a pair of members as Joseph Oliveira has resigned and Michelle Dionne is headed to one of the nine Fall River city council seats in the next term. 

A Message From The District Attorney

With the holiday season officially upon us and many more drivers on the roadways, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III is calling attention to the rapidly increasing number of motor vehicle fatalities plaguing Bristol County.

 

Since September 12th, 24 people have lost their lives as a result of motor vehicle crashes in Bristol County, according to state police statistics.  Six of these fatalities occurred on Interstate Highways that wind through Bristol County (Rte. 95=3, Rte. 195 =2, Rte. 495=1) and the other 17 happened on local roads and state highways, including three on Route 24 during the past few weeks. 

 

To put the rising number of motor vehicle fatalities in Bristol County during the past two-and-a-half months into context; there were a total of 25 motor vehicle deaths in the county from January 1, 2019 through September 2, 2019.  This means Bristol County has seen essentially the same number of motor vehicle deaths during the last two-plus months than it had during the previous eight months of the year.

 

While the reasons for each motor vehicle fatality are all different and fact-specific, it is clear that people are driving too aggressively, driving while distracted and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  It is also clear that this is a statewide problem. According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle fatalities in Massachusetts rose by 46 percent between 2013 and 2017.

 

“Based upon the rash of motor vehicle fatalities recently, it is becoming increasingly clear that people are very distracted while driving and are simply driving too aggressively.  Unfortunately this can have tragic consequences that families and friends have to live with forever,” District Attorney Quinn said.

 

District Attorney Quinn is hopeful that legislation passed by the Legislature last week which will ban the use of handheld devices by drivers on Massachusetts roadways will make a significant impact on the high number of motor vehicle fatalities in Bristol County. It is important to note that even after Gov. Baker signs the bill into law, it will not take effect until the holiday season has passed. 

 

The district attorney’s office is the lead investigatory agency on all fatalities in the county, including all motor vehicle-related fatalities, and is also responsible for prosecuting all criminal charges that arise from motor vehicle deaths.  The criminal charges that could be lodged and the potential consequences of a conviction for crimes associated with motor vehicle fatalities are wide-ranging.  However, the district attorney’s office would like to remind citizens that causing death while behind the wheel while either intoxicated or while using a cell phone are serious crimes that often result in jail or state prison sentences for those convicted.  This is not how we want any county residents to be spending their holiday season.  The impact on the victims, the families of the victims and the defendants themselves when a death is caused as a result of careless, reckless or intoxicated driving cannot be underestimated.

 

“Personally, I find it increasingly dangerous to be driving on the highway trying to respond to distracted, aggressive and reckless drivers.  I implore people to slow down and pay attention to what they’re doing on the roadways. This would clearly result in fewer accidents and tragic deaths.  If you have had too much to drink, please call a friend or family member so a potential tragedy can be avoided,” District Attorney Quinn said.  “I applaud the Legislature for passing the hands-free driving legislation. I also thank Senator Mark Montigny for his advocacy on this issue during the past decade.  This can go a long way towards reducing distracted driving if people comply with the law.”

 

The district attorney’s office also wants to inform the public about the increased potential for jail or prison time when leaving the scene of an accident where death or personal injury have occurred.  There are many potential scenarios where a driver would not be charged with a crime even when death or injury results.  But once a driver flees from a crash and does not contact police, the incident automatically becomes a serious crime that carries mandatory minimum jail or prison sentences.  Even in cases where a driver would be charged with misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide for their negligence, the potential punishment to that driver increases substantially when they flee.

 

The district attorney’s office is urging people involved in crashes to not put themselves in serious jeopardy by leaving the scene of accidents.  Leaving the scene not only puts you in a position where you are likely to be incarcerated, but it also puts the families and friends of victims in heart-wrenching situations of prolonged grief.  Victims' families are put through the additional grief of not only losing a loved one, but not knowing who is responsible.  No one wants to get in trouble, but fleeing and eventually getting caught results in much worse punishment.  The vast majority of drivers believe nothing will happen to them.  Most do not have the intention of hurting someone, but in making a mistake, distracted, impaired or aggressive drivers can forever change their lives, their families' lives, and the lives of the victims' families.  

New MA Opioid Numbers

Massachusetts opioid-related overdose deaths fall 6 percent in the first nine months of 2019 compared to 2018

 

BOSTON (Nov. 25, 2019) - Opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts continue to decline, falling an estimated 6 percent in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the first nine months of 2018, according to preliminary data released today by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). Between January and September of 2019, there were 1,460 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts, 99 fewer than the 1,559 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2018, the new quarterly opioid report shows.

 

The decline in opioid-related overdose deaths is occurring despite the continued presence of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl, which has risen to an all-time high. In the first six months of 2019, fentanyl was present in 93 percent of opioid-related overdose deaths where there was a toxicology screen, up from 89 percent of opioid-related overdose deaths where there was a toxicology screen in 2018.

 

“Today’s report affirms that our multi-pronged approach to the opioid epidemic is making a difference,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Although we’ve made progress, we must continue to focus our law enforcement efforts on getting fentanyl off of our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”

 

“Behind these quarterly data are real people and families in communities across the state whose lives are impacted by addiction,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We remain invested in proven strategies across the spectrum of prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery to help individuals struggling with addiction and support local community efforts.”

 

The report found that the rate of heroin or likely heroin present in opioid-related overdose deaths has been declining since 2014 - while the percentage of opioid-related overdose deaths where prescription drugs were present has remained stable since 2017. In the second quarter of 2019, approximately 13 percent of opioid-related overdose deaths had prescription opioids present in a toxicology screen.

 

“By continuing to expand behavioral health access and provide additional resources for high-risk communities and for the highest risk individuals, we will make steady progress,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.

                               

A significant finding in the report concerns the number of Schedule II prescription drugs and the utilization of the Massachusetts Prescription Monitoring Program or MassPAT.  Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to limit the number of days for Schedule II opioid prescriptions and to mandate the use of the Prescription Monitoring Program prior to writing a prescription. 

 

These findings include: 

 

  • In the third quarter of 2019, there were just over 500,000 Schedule II opioid prescriptions reported to the Massachusetts Prescription Monitoring Program, which is just over a 40 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2015 (n = 841,990 Schedule II opioid prescriptions).
  • In the third quarter of 2019, registered MassPAT providers conducted more than 2.2 million searches, which represented an increase of approximately 200,000 searches since the previous quarter.
  • Just over 227,000 individuals in Massachusetts received prescriptions for Schedule II opioids in the third quarter of 2019, which is nearly a 42 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2015 (n=390,532).

 

The new opioid report is accompanied by two new sections – one on opioid or benzodiazepine use in mothers during pregnancy and substance exposure in newborns, and the other on acute opioid-related hospital Emergency Department (ED) visits by gender and age compared to all ED visits.

 

Some highlights from these reports include:

 

  • Between 2016 and 2019 in Massachusetts overall, 1.85 percent of mothers used opioids or benzodiazepines during pregnancy and 1.72 percent of infants were exposed to one of these substances in the mother’s womb.
  • Between January and September of 2019, the percentages of acute opioid and heroin-related ED visits among men were more than twice those of women. Individuals between 25 and 44 years old experienced the highest number of opioid-related ED visits.

 

“The release of this latest data indicates that our public health-centered approach to the opioid epidemic is working,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD. MPH. “As we move forward, we will build on this success by continuing to focus on the widespread availability of naloxone, behavioral and medication treatments, and sustained recovery services.”

 

Other findings of the new opioid report include:

 

  • In the first six months of 2019, the greatest number of suspected opioid-related incidents treated by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) continued to be among males aged 25-34, accounting for 24 percent of opioid-related incidents with a known age and gender.
  • Males comprise 74 percent of all opioid-related overdose deaths.

 

The Baker-Polito Administration, in collaboration with the Legislature, has doubled spending to address the opioid crisis and increased capacity by more than 1,200 treatment beds, including more than 800 adult substance use treatment beds at different treatment levels. In addition, the Administration is investing nearly $220 million over five years from the federally approved 1115 Medicaid waiver, which began in fiscal year 2018, to meet the needs of individuals with addictions and/or co-occurring disorders. The FY20 budget signed by Governor Baker builds on the progress to date by investing $246 million across several state agencies to address substance misuse prevention and treatment.

Learn more about the statewide response to the opioid crisis. To get help for a substance use disorder, visit www.helplinema.org or call the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline at (800) 327-5050.

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Quinn Says Drivers Are Too Aggressive

With the holiday season officially upon us and many more drivers on the roadways, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III is calling attention to the rapidly increasing number of motor vehicle fatalities plaguing Bristol County.

 

Since September 12th, 24 people have lost their lives as a result of motor vehicle crashes in Bristol County, according to state police statistics.  Six of these fatalities occurred on Interstate Highways that wind through Bristol County (Rte. 95=3, Rte. 195 =2, Rte. 495=1) and the other 17 happened on local roads and state highways, including three on Route 24 during the past few weeks. 

 

To put the rising number of motor vehicle fatalities in Bristol County during the past two-and-a-half months into context; there were a total of 25 motor vehicle deaths in the county from January 1, 2019 through September 2, 2019.  This means Bristol County has seen essentially the same number of motor vehicle deaths during the last two-plus months than it had during the previous eight months of the year.

 

While the reasons for each motor vehicle fatality are all different and fact-specific, it is clear that people are driving too aggressively, driving while distracted and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  It is also clear that this is a statewide problem. According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle fatalities in Massachusetts rose by 46 percent between 2013 and 2017.

 

“Based upon the rash of motor vehicle fatalities recently, it is becoming increasingly clear that people are very distracted while driving and are simply driving too aggressively.  Unfortunately this can have tragic consequences that families and friends have to live with forever,” District Attorney Quinn said.

 

District Attorney Quinn is hopeful that legislation passed by the Legislature last week which will ban the use of handheld devices by drivers on Massachusetts roadways will make a significant impact on the high number of motor vehicle fatalities in Bristol County. It is important to note that even after Gov. Baker signs the bill into law, it will not take effect until the holiday season has passed. 

 

The district attorney’s office is the lead investigatory agency on all fatalities in the county, including all motor vehicle-related fatalities, and is also responsible for prosecuting all criminal charges that arise from motor vehicle deaths.  The criminal charges that could be lodged and the potential consequences of a conviction for crimes associated with motor vehicle fatalities are wide-ranging.  However, the district attorney’s office would like to remind citizens that causing death while behind the wheel while either intoxicated or while using a cell phone are serious crimes that often result in jail or state prison sentences for those convicted.  This is not how we want any county residents to be spending their holiday season.  The impact on the victims, the families of the victims and the defendants themselves when a death is caused as a result of careless, reckless or intoxicated driving cannot be underestimated.

 

“Personally, I find it increasingly dangerous to be driving on the highway trying to respond to distracted, aggressive and reckless drivers.  I implore people to slow down and pay attention to what they’re doing on the roadways. This would clearly result in fewer accidents and tragic deaths.  If you have had too much to drink, please call a friend or family member so a potential tragedy can be avoided,” District Attorney Quinn said.  “I applaud the Legislature for passing the hands-free driving legislation. I also thank Senator Mark Montigny for his advocacy on this issue during the past decade.  This can go a long way towards reducing distracted driving if people comply with the law.”

 

The district attorney’s office also wants to inform the public about the increased potential for jail or prison time when leaving the scene of an accident where death or personal injury have occurred.  There are many potential scenarios where a driver would not be charged with a crime even when death or injury results.  But once a driver flees from a crash and does not contact police, the incident automatically becomes a serious crime that carries mandatory minimum jail or prison sentences.  Even in cases where a driver would be charged with misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide for their negligence, the potential punishment to that driver increases substantially when they flee.

 

The district attorney’s office is urging people involved in crashes to not put themselves in serious jeopardy by leaving the scene of accidents.  Leaving the scene not only puts you in a position where you are likely to be incarcerated, but it also puts the families and friends of victims in heart-wrenching situations of prolonged grief.  Victims' families are put through the additional grief of not only losing a loved one, but not knowing who is responsible.  No one wants to get in trouble, but fleeing and eventually getting caught results in much worse punishment.  The vast majority of drivers believe nothing will happen to them.  Most do not have the intention of hurting someone, but in making a mistake, distracted, impaired or aggressive drivers can forever change their lives, their families' lives, and the lives of the victims' families.  

 

District Attorney Quinn would also like to take this opportunity to remind citizens and members of the media that we continue to actively investigate two recent hit and run fatalities. 

 

--Investigators continue to seek the public's assistance in locating a vehicle believed to be involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash that took place on Route 95 in Attleboro on September 16. After conducting numerous witness interviews and investigating the incident further, police believe that a woman who was driving a large white SUV struck the victim while the victim was attempting to cross the highway at around 10 pm.  The driver of the SUV is believed to have stopped on the left side of the highway, briefly exited her vehicle and then drove off.  The driver was described as being about five feet, four inches tall and weighs approximately 160 pounds.  The vehicle may have exited Route 95 into Pawtucket, RI around 10 pm on September 16. It is believed the large white SUV is either a white Chevy Suburban or a white Cadillac Escalade ESV (extended version), with damage to the passenger side headlight. A surveillance photo of the actual vehicle involved is attached to this email.  If anyone was in the area of the incident, has knowledge about this case or has seen a damaged white SUV, they are urged to contact State Police Detectives assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office at  508-993-2016.

 

--Investigators also continue to seek witnesses who were driving in the area of 305 Middleboro Avenue in Taunton on November 6th around 5:30 p.m. and either saw the victim, Jose Ferreira, walking prior to the crash or saw the crash itself.  Please note that even seemingly minor details or observations could be helpful to investigators.  Anyone with information is urged to contact State Trooper Brock Morrissette at 508-961-1904 or Taunton Police Detective Robert Swartz at 508-821-1475, ext. 3133.

 

 

Hands Free in The Commonwealth

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed into law legislation that seeks to prohibit the use of cell phones are not utilizing hands free technology, as Baker says texting or checking email will be dealt with if drivers are seen engaging in those activities while behind the wheel. 

 

Baker says the new law is comprehensive; he also thanked Massachusetts Families who shared their stories of losing loved ones in traffic accidents where another driver was distracted. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gasoline This Week

Triple A Northeast is reporting that the price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Massachusetts remains the same this week. 

A gallon of self serve regular gasoline is at an average of 2-49 a gallon in the Commonwealth, which ten cents below the national average of 2-59. 

Mary Maguire is the Director of Public and Legislative Affairs for Triple A; she says you might want to fill up your gasoline tank early this week to avoid any price bumps  upward towards Thanksgiving. 

The range in prices for a gallon of regular gasoline in the Commonwealth is 79 cents, from a low of 2-26 to a high of 3-05. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter-Seventy Dollars Coming To Fall River

The recent passage of new legislation on Beacon Hill seeking to fund line items for special education and English language learners in gateway cities such as Fall River will mean millions of dollars for various things over the next seven fiscal years.

 

One of the trio of legislators in the area said that stakeholders throughout the district should have a seat at the table to best determine how to utilize the incoming funds over the next almost-decade.

 

"Some of the things we can look forward to are how do we want to spend this money,” Bristol Sixth District State Representative Carole Fiola. “Certainly, our school department, our administration and our school committee all know what want to do, overall.”

 

She continued, “But, I hope the business community, parents, students, educators and of course our great school committee members along with others have a chance to have a seat at the table because this new formula is going to provide a lot of new resources to our district."

 

The reworking of this funding formula took some time to complete. 

 

This will bring more financial and human capital assistance to the English language learners in the Fall River Public School District and in the form of additional chapter seventy dollars.

 

Superintendent of School Doctor Matthew Malone said they have just added more than a handful of new paraprofessionals to meet their standards.

 

"At the last school committee meeting, we talked about ensuring all of our foundational English language learner rooms were fully staffed,” Malone said. “I'm proud to report tonight that we've added 8 paraprofessionals given approval of the committee last session to those classrooms. Now, they are fully staffed by our model."

Kennedy Wants To Abolish Electoral College

Massachusetts 4th District Congressman Joseph Kennedy III has come out in support of abolishing the electoral college.

 

This has become an issue among the Democratic party’s progressive weapon as a means of determining an election.

 

Kennedy, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat of fellow Democrat Ed Markey, maintains that if the electoral college were abolished, each individual vote would mean something to contenders for the presidency.

 

Kennedy said he would like future presidential election decided by a national popular vote, though, he says would support a proposal by the National Popular Vote Compact which has been signed by fifteen states as well as the District of Columbia. In this case, states would award delegates to the electoral college based on the winner of the national popular vote. 

 

Doing away with the entire electoral college would mean amending the constitution. 

Massachusetts Passes Bill That Would Ban All Flavored Tobacco Products

Just after midnight on Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill that would ban all flavored tobacco products, according to State House News Services.

 

The 32-6 vote came following hours of debate during the last day of formal session Wednesday and trickled slightly into Thursday.

 

Known as An Act Modernizing Tobacco Control, the bill will apply to all tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco and include all menthol products.

 

Bristol Plymouth First District State Senator Michael Rodrigues who serves as Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee did have a problem with that final part.

 

“I do have a problem with the bill that includes menthol cigarettes,” he said. “Overall, though, I support the flavored vaping ban. Vaping products will still be allowed in over 21 stores for non-flavored vaping products.”

 

The bill will also implement a 75 percent excise tax on e-cigarettes and e-liquids. Rodrigues said the purpose of addiction prevention in young people. 

 

“All of the flavors, be they menthol, be they bubblegum, be they cotton candy – they all raise concerns that they’re actually marketed and targeted towards young folks to get them hooked on nicotine,” he said.” We know that nicotine is an addictive component in cigarettes. It’s an addictive component in vaping products, also.”

 

Health coverage for tobacco use cessation products and counseling will also be expanded with this bill.

 

“The more we can do to prevent young people from getting addicted to nicotine, I think, the better off we all are,” Rodrigues said.

 

The Massachusetts House signed a similar bill last week. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is expected to sign the bill into law without hesitation.

The Official Fall River Mayoral Election Numbers

The Fall River Elections Division finished the certification process of balloting for the Fall River Mayoral, City Council and School Committee, which is now headed electronically to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office. 

 

Fall River Mayor Elect Paul Coogan secured 10,724 votes, while former Fall River City Council Member and City Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros earned 1,614 write in votes, while soon to be former Mayor Jasiel Correia II, who suspended his bid for a third term, drew 1,010 votes. 

 

Among the additional write ins, Erica Scott Pacheco garnered 74 votes, former Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan got 10, while Acting Fall River Mayor Cliff Ponte secured 7 write in votes. 

MA Unemployment for October

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has indicated that the October Unemployment Rate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts remains at 2.9%.

 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Preliminary Job Estimates indicated the Commonwealth added a little over 10,000 jobs in October. 

 

Preliminary estimates indicate that the Massachusetts Economy has added over 45,000 jobs since the start of 2019. 

 

The Massachusetts Unemployment Rate has remained at or below 3% for nine consecutive months.

 

 

 

 

 


                 
                

Tremont Street Shooting Investigation Updated

Fall River Police have enlisted the assistance of various other law enforcement agencies in an ongoing investigation into a shooting incident on Tremont Street in Fall River on the night of October 27 at 11:15pm.

 

Victims called Police and told the F-R-P-D that they were inside a vehicle parked on Columbia Street in Fall River and needed assistance, which was provided by officers on the scene until EMTs arrived.  

 

The FRPD maintains that what happened was not a random act. 

 

The FRPD Major Crimes Division secured search warrants for residences in Bridgewater and Lakeville; a SWAT team, along with detectives from Bridgewater and Lakeville executed recent search warrants, where ammunition and narcotics were located in Bridgewater at a Wood Street location, while in Lakeville, a 9-mm firearm loaded with 20 rounds was found at Commercial Drive Apartment. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


                       

Freetown Traffic Fatal

Massachusetts State Police are confirming that a 16-year-old passenger in one of three vehicles involved in a Route 24 Northbound accident last night died at the scene. 

 

Because of the age of the victim, MA State Police are not releasing his name. 

 

The accident happened around 8:40pm Thursday Night, after a 2008 Mazda 5 hatchback with five people inside was north bound on Route 24,  prior to exit 10, when the driver swerved to the left to avoid a deer in the roadway.

 

A northbound Audi in the left lane observed debris from the first accident; it breaked and came to a stop in the left lane. 

 

A third vehicle saw the same debris and the two other vehicles; the driver applied emergency breaks but hit the ejected passenger in the left travel lane and also hit the second vehicle. 

 

Two women in the Mazda were from Taunton, with their ages listed as 38 and 21; they were taken to Rhode Island Hospital with minor injuries. 

 

Two other passengers in the Mazda, a pair of girls ages and 11 and 4, were taken to Hasbro Children's Hospital. 

 

The driver of the Audi was not injured, while the driver of the Saturn was taken to Charlton Memorial Hospital. 

 

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Cathy Ann Viveiros Out As City Administrator

Fall River’s now former city administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros has submitted her resignation, and Acting Mayor Cliff Ponte has accepted it.

 

"We're marching on,” Acting Mayor Cliff Ponte said when asked about the situation.

 

As first reported in the Fall River Herald News, Viveiros was the subject of an investigation earlier this Fall into the assessment of Hathaway Street residence that had been renovated after she purchased it. 

 

Ponte said the details on the final report will remain confidential until all of the Human Resources matters have been handled.

 

"Mrs. Viveiros was given the package of information this afternoon with a number of other individuals involved,” he said. “It was a thorough process that was completed by Attorney Thomas as well as our own legal department who reviewed it. We have handed them confidential packages of information for their review and response. At this point, I think it’s appropriate in the best interest of Fall River to leave it as a confidential matter."

 

Someone has already been selected to fill-in in the interim. And she will be the lone point of contact between the acting administration and the one making their way in in nearly six weeks.

 

“I'm going to be appointing on an interim basis Mary Sahady as our city administrator,” Ponte said. “She will be able to handle the day-to-day basis operations. I did have a conversation with Mrs. Sahady while I transition out and the mayor elect will transitions in, there's going to be one point of contact within city government - that will be Mrs. Sahady."

 

The mayor-elect spoke with Will Flangan in the wake of Viveiros’ resignation. He is confident in Mary Sahady until the time he starts the process of searching for a new person to take on the city administrator duties. .

 

“I have confidence in Mary Sahady to keep an eye on both things for a little while, while we bridge the gap here,” Paul Coogan said. “That will be advertised and I will put together a panel to do the interviews after the people screen those level of applicants."

 

Coogan is genuinely unsure who will fill the role. 

 

"There are a number of firms who help cities to find the best people to run the city,” the mayor-elect told Flanagan. “I believe that going forward, I'm not sure were going to jump to a new city administrator right now.”

 

The former school committee member and school administrator said when there is news on the city administrator job, he will make an announcement. Until then, everything heard is simply rumors.

 

"It's funny because I see these names thrown around - it's going to be this one, it's going to be that one,” Coogan said. “That’s being thrown around by no one that has had a conversation with me. I don't do that. I never did, I'm not going to.” 

 

He continued, “when we get to the point where we're ready to announce someone then we're going to announce them. I don't play that game. It's about what’s best for the city of Fall River."

 

Viveiros ran a write-in campaign earlier in the month in the municipal election for mayor of Fall River after serving in her role as city administrator for Mayors Flangan, Sutter and  Correia.

 

Her last successful ballot appearance saw her as the tip vote getter for a city council seat that she gave up to become city administrator for the Flanagan Administration, which ultimately allowed the former mayor Jasiel Correia to advance from tenth place to a ninth place finish, gaining him a seat on the council that he would hold onto for one term before defeating Sam Sutter for a term as mayor.

Fall River May Look To Build Two New Parking Garages

The city of Fall River could seek to possibly build a pair of new parking garages. 

 

If grant dollars on a state and/or federal level can be materialized the city would try to locate the two garages in the downtown area and on the waterfront. 

 

At the most recent session of the city council, the city administrator indicated to the current and future council members funding sources from a bond authorization could be made available for this endeavor.

 

"I thought it might be helpful to just advise you of a potential funding source that you may want to consider,” Cathy Ann Viveiros said. “Our legislative delegation did manage to get a bond authorization included in a bond at the state level for economic and infrastructure improvement.”

 

The legislation stated one million dollars would be awarded for waterfront garage while two million will be allocated to for a downtown parking garage.

 

"This process would require that we complete construction cost,” Viveiros said. “It has to be submitted to the Division of Capital Asset Management for consideration. The funding would have to be issued. It’s simply been included as authorized but not issued.”

 

The costs of the two new garages would have to be estimated. Another option would be redirecting those funds to fix already built but worn-down structures. 

 

“Senator (Michael) Rodrigues has advised me that the city would have the option of using those funds for repair as opposed to new construction if that was something they wanted to consider," Fall River’s City Administrator told the various council members. 

 

The city’s chief financial officer chimed in and suggested the potential of repairing one structure already here in the city of Fall River. 

 

"I think the administration as well as this council needs to go back and look further at the potential of rebuilding and repairing the third street garage with a cost of about 80,000 dollars,” Mary Sahady said. “It would repair into the next swing of spaces that go up into the garage. What that would do for us is free up approximately 46 spaces."

 

Sahady went on to lay out the costs for new structures by looking at recent models in the city.

 

"A Primacare-like garage structure was the information we set out to acquire the cost on,” the Fall River city administrator said. “It looks at this particular point that Primacare paid just shy of 2 million dollars.”

 

Due to inflation and increased value the city would have to spend a bit more for their structures.  

 

“We would be looking at potentially closer to 2.5 million dollars when you look at the increased value versus the time that Primacare erected their garage, as well as the fact that we need to pay the minimum housing, the federal guidelines, for the salary rights."

Northeast Alternatives Under Scrutiny By Neighbors

“We're looking to the city of Fall River to start to back the citizens of Commonwealth Ave and Heritage Court,” Grace MacDonald Nay pleaded with city council members. “We need help." 

 

At the most recent session of the Fall River City Council, which featured both the current members and newcomers elected into office last week, an amended resolution was passed by a unanimous 7-0 margin.

 

Residents of neighborhoods bordering the Northeast Alternatives Dispensary near the border with Tiverton asked the current and future councilors to help negate issues with the city’s lone legal recreational location. 

 

Those issues include traffic, noise and odor complaints. The amended resolution will be sent to finance committee as well as various others as it does concern many different corners. 

 

One of the neighbors made an appearance at the council session representing her community and described the scene on a daily basis near her home.

 

“I have recordings of noise that happens all night long - humming noises, hissing noises, loud noises at 6 o'clock in the morning,” MacDonald Nay said. “I've been woken up as I live across the street. We have taken video of these noises. It's constant. You can't open your windows in the summertime because of the smell."

 

She alleges customers are consuming cannabis and various products immediately after leaving the dispensary.

 

"The traffic study, as we got more information, we learned was never completed,” MacDonald Nay claimed. “It was based on the liquor store that was originally there. We’re talking night and day, here. We have families. We have noise that's happening. There are two houses near the property that have three school-age children in each of them.”

 

Other concerns include property values on homes in the neighborhood and mail not being delivered on time due to obstructions at mailboxes for postal workers.

 

"How this facility was deemed a retail property is well beyond me,” MacDonald Nay said. “Because if you look at the percentage of that property that’s being used for retail versus to grow marijuana and manufacture edibles then you have to look at the big difference between a retail space and what is actually happening in the building.”

 

Current and future councilor Leo Pelletier said in response that Fall River needs more locations and more variety to alleviate the crowded business at Northeast.

 

"We definitely have to step in somewhere but how can we curtail this?” Pelletier asked. “I don't know if we can stop these guys. I think some of the problem is that you only have one recreational location in the city.” 

 

The long-time councilor referenced the issue in the Commonwealth with licensing dispensaries as one of the variables creating problems in the city. 

 

“Everything is at a standstill right now because of the bribes and everything else,” Pelletier said. “But it doesn't do us any good. I say no more than 8 but don't leave it at one. Spread it out through the city of Fall River."

A Conversation With Former Fall River Councilor Ray Mitchell

A former Fall River City Councilor in a conversation with WSAR said he hopes a resolution he never put forward during his time in the position becomes part of the discussion going forward into 2020 regarding contracts that remain in force after a Fall River mayor leaves office.

 

"I thought of it but I never pulled the trigger,” Ray Mitchell told WSAR. “I wish that I had put in a resolution and ask it to go to ordinance that would say any contracts a mayor signs that extend beyond their term of office must be approved by two-thirds of the city council."

 

The former city council member is hoping one of the five returning, or four newcomers, picks up the baton and files the resolution.

 

"I hope that one of the current or new city councilors will put in that resolution because there are many contracts that are signed for the long-term and the unfortunate thing is that the citizens live with it,” Mitchell said. “But (only) one person is making that decision."

 

A contract will continue into the decade of the 2020s regarding trash, solid waste and recycling.

Coogan's Transition Team Moves Into Government Center's 4th Floor

In the weeks leading up to Paul Coogan’s inauguration in January, Fall River’s Mayor Elect will work from a fourth floor office in government center. 

 

In a conversation with WSAR, acting mayor Cliff Ponte said Coogan’s soon-to-be announced transition team will get a leg up on the transition and the process by stationing themselves inside the building leading up to the day they have to take the reigns.

 

"I have already reached out to the mayor elect and indicated to him that my services are available to him,” Ponte told WSAR. “As it is with the community, I work to help him transition in so the transition is seamless. The community deserves some stability now as we move forward.” 

 

The acting mayor of Fall River said this community deserves a smooth transition from the former administration to the new one. 

 

“Working with the mayor elect as a councilor and helping him transition as acting mayor is what’s best for the community,” Ponte said. “We do it in a way that's respectful that brings a little bit of respect back to this community."

 

Coogan is a former school committee member and comes from a career in school administration in Fall River.

Police Investigating Fatal Hit-And-Run In Taunton

Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office and Taunton Police are actively investigating a fatal hit-and-run incident, which occurred earlier this evening in the City of Taunton.

 

Investigators are also asking for any witnesses who were driving in the area of 305 Middleboro around 5:30 p.m. today to please contact the Taunton Police Department detective's line at 508-821-1475.  

 

Taunton Police responded to the area of 305 Middleboro Avenue this evening shortly after 5:30 p.m. for a reported motor vehicle vs. pedestrian crash.  When first responders arrived on scene, they located the victim lying in the roadway.  The victim, identified as Jose Ferreira, 85, of Taunton, was rushed to Morton Hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased.

 

The driver of the vehicle that apparently struck Mr. Ferreira is believed to have fled westbound on Middleboro Avenue after the crash.

 

Investigators believe there are other witnesses who were driving in the area of the crash at the time of the incident and are asking them to please come forward and contact police.  Even seemingly minor details or observations could be helpful to investigators as they search for the driver.

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