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Federal prosecutors charge 31 members of Boston-area street gang with violent crimes

US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling's office announced the arrests and subsequent charges Tuesday morning.
US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling's office announced the arrests and subsequent charges Tuesday morning.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The morning Alberto Monteiro-Pire was shot and killed inside a Dorchester barbershop, a GPS monitor showed a member of the NOB gang circling the Stoughton Street business.

Ricky Pina, who was wearing a monitor in September 2017 because he faced unspecified state-level charges, was driving past the Creole International Style barbershop again and again, according to a newly released federal indictment. He stopped by the homes of two other NOB gang members, records show, and returned to Stoughton Street. Minutes later, Monteiro-Pire, 21, was dying.

Monteiro-Pire’s killing remains unsolved. But on Tuesday, federal authorities charged Pina and 30 other suspected members of the Dorchester-based NOB gang, which stands for Norton, Olney, and Barry streets in Dorchester’s Bowdin-Geneva section. They are accused of committing RICO violations that include robbery, drug dealing, and sex trafficking, authorities said.

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Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross said he fully expects that the arrests will help investigators clear unsolved homicides they suspect NOB members are responsible for, although he did not cite specific cases. A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins declined to comment because the cases are still open.

At a news conference, US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said the alleged offenders are associated with the Wendover Street gang and have been involved in “violent feuds” in the Boston area for more than 20 years.

Twenty gang members and associates are charged with crimes “including racketeering (‘RICO’) conspiracy, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking, crossing state lines for the purpose of prostitution (the Mann Act), firearms charges and bank fraud," prosecutors said. Two associates were previously charged with drug trafficking and gun violations, and nine other people were charged with conspiring to distribute controlled substances, including fentanyl.

“As alleged, many of the individuals arrested today have engaged in a ruthless and senseless string of attacks and murders, terrorizing the communities in which they operated all across the state," Joseph R. Bonavolonta, the FBI special agent in charge of the bureau’s Boston office, said in a statement.

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Suspects were arrested in communities including Boston, Lynn, Everett, and Fall River, and 11 search warrants yielded multiple firearms including an AK-47, Lelling said.

“This operation was intended to dismantle the NOB gang and take the most violent members” off the street, Lelling said.

He said NOB members have threatened rival gangs over social media and planned “retaliatory violence." One suspect, Michael Brandao, has produced rap videos “openly discussing” shootings and murders on behalf of the NOB gang, Lelling said.

“We will continue pursuing the RICO statute” to charge gang members who “sell drugs and shoot each other on a regular basis,” Lelling said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Brandao had a lawyer.

Gross said suspects arrested on federal charges aren’t released as quickly as those charged at the state level.

“I don’t expect to see these individuals out on the street the next day wearing a bracelet,” Gross said. Neighborhood residents are “tired of this," he added. "They deserve better.”

“We have your back, even in a time of anti-police sentiment,” Gross said. “We will do our jobs... we know the good folks in the community have our backs too."

Bonavolonta said some gang members committed crimes as far away as Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. They “made a living committing armed robberies and dealing drugs” and tried to gain respect within their ranks “by shooting and murdering their rivals,” he said.

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NOB has long been embroiled in a violent feud with the Cameron Street gang, a rivalry “akin to the Hatfields and McCoys," he added.

A 16-year-old girl was among the gang’s sex trafficking victims, he said, and the guns seized Tuesday included one used in a 2016 shooting incident at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and another matched to eight separate shootings, Bonavolonta said.

“We must keep sustained pressure on gangs like NOB,” he said. “The members and associates of this vicious gang will now have to answer for their horrible crimes."


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at gal.lotan@globe.com or at 617-929-2043.