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Dorchester gang member gets more than 7 years for selling drugs, guns and women while on parole for a gun offense

Romero waving around cash

Romero waving around some ill gotten cash, via US Attorney's office.

A federal judge yesterday sentenced Kenny Romero to 7 1/4 years - 87 months - in federal prison for violating the RICO law and for selling cocaine and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition - 63 months for the charges to which he'd pleaded guilty and another 24 months for doing all that while on probation for an earlier gun-possession charge.

Romero, 29, of Randolph pleaded guilty in November. He has already spent 25 months behind bars, which will be credited towards his sentence.

Prosecutors say Romero was a member of the Cameron Street Gang, whose members concentrated on drugs, guns and prostitution - and fighting with the rival NOB Gang, before ATF and Boston Police officers rounded up 18 members in a series of raids in April, 2022 - five months after Romero himself was arrested on RICO, gun and cocaine charges. Collectively, the gang members were charged with one murder, 33 attempted murders, 17 armed robberies, 19 unarmed robberies, including home invasions and one carjacking, among other crimes.

In a sentencing memorandum to US District Court Judge William Young, assistant US Attorneys Christopher Pohl and Charles Dell’Anno, argued for even more time for Romero - of at least 95 months.

In the course of his participation in a deadly criminal enterprise, ROMERO distributed cocaine while armed with a firearm; sold multiple firearms, including an assault rifle, to another member of Cameron Street who was in fact a cooperating witness; and engaged in human trafficking, all while under the supervision of this Court.

They added:

On supervised release for a serious federal firearms charge, ROMERO sold a total of seven firearms – including a high-powered assault rifle – containing dozens of rounds of ammunition as well as cocaine base, cocaine, and marijuana to someone he believed was a fellow gang member but was in fact a cooperating witness (CW-1). ROMERO displayed an eighth firearm to CW-1 while ROMERO sold CW-1 cocaine.

Prosecutors add that Romero pimped out at least one woman, with whom he split her proceeds 50/50 and supplied her with Percoset pills.

They said it was time to send a message that society would no longer tolerate a seemingly unending and murderous war between rival Cape Verdean gangs in Dorchester, mainly split by which side of Columbia Road members originally lived on:

For decades, Boston and surrounding communities have been wracked by murders and other acts of violence committed by and against youths whose families had historical ties to Cape Verde, an island nation off the coast of Portugal. Over time, different designations have been used to identify different factions but the adversaries have always maintained a roughly consistent geographic area of concentration. One faction is primarily based in Dorchester, in the vicinity of Bowdoin Street, Geneva Avenue, Cameron Street, and Hancock Street. The other faction is based near Uphams Corner on the Dorchester - Roxbury neighborhood line, primarily centered in and around Wendover Street, separated from their Dorchester rivals by Columbia Road, a major Boston thoroughfare. ...

Agents obtained information about the gang from cooperating witnesses who were themselves associated with Cameron Street. Through the use of consensual recordings, [telephone] interceptions, search warrants, and evidence seized by state and local law enforcement, agents determined that Cameron Street members possessed, carried, and used firearms to commit murder and assault rivals, especially their chief rival, another Boston gang known as NOB (for Norton, Onley, and Barry Streets, sometimes referred to as Wendover). Agents learned that Cameron Street members distributed controlled substances, committed armed robberies and home invasions, and engaged in human trafficking to generate income for the enterprise.

In his own sentencing recommendation, Romero's attorney, Kevin Barron, argued for a sentence of 36 months, saying that in addition to being the product of a childhood spent with a violent, drug-dealing father in Honduras, Romero has shown he can turn his life around - in part through his guilty plea, in part through the work he's put in to get a CDL license to become a long-haul trucker, in part because of the care he has shown to his girlfriend's young child, who has suffered medical problems since his birth.

But also, part of the calculations to figure out a sentence include a conviction for simple marijuana possession in Virginia, where such possession is now legal, and that he was really only definitively found with seven guns, not the eight prosecutors claimed - one alleged gun was spotted in his waistband while a government "cooperating witness" bought drugs from him, but was never recovered by the government or proved to be a gun, Barron writes:

The object was never removed from defendant's waistband during a controlled buy. Given that replica firearms and realistic air guns are commonly carried by criminally-involved persons, it is impossible to determine without competent examination whether the object was likely designed or intended to be an actual firearm.

Barron argued:

29 years old, Mr. Romero's social history, his early guilty plea, a comparatively light criminal history, his emerging employment record and parental responsibilities for medically-imperiled infant son, all lean in favor of a Koon-type combination departure or variance. These offender characteristics point to a defendant who is aging out of gang involvement and assuming his ordinary personal responsibilities. Excess incarceration will not promote but inhibit defendant's rehabilitation.

He added that all things considered, Romero has a pretty short criminal record:

While involvement in street gang racketeering can always be viewed as serious, this particular defendant does not appear to have lost his self-control. Otherwise he would have a stronger convictions history. Even where he committed this offense on release, the lack of heavier criminal involvement bodes well for future rehabilitation.



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Where Gus photographed himself with cash?

Me neither.

Voting closed 34

He seems to be getting off easy, after reading all of this my opinion is he needs 20 to 25 years.

Voting closed 36

The conflict which the AUSAs described in their sentencing memorandum has been referred to as "the Cousins' War," because many of the Cape Verdean participants are related by blood.

Having encountered numerous individuals from those streets of Cape Verdean descent and of all ages and genders over many years, I suspect there are some heritable mental illness roots for the Cousins' War. The same names pop out on the dockets over several generations. Would be worth a good Harvard Public Health School multi-generational study.

Voting closed 27