More than a dozen members and associates of a gang with ties to Brazil were charged Thursday in connection with an alleged rash of crimes throughout Eastern Massachusetts, including drug and gun trafficking, robberies, and kidnappings, federal prosecutors said.
Fourteen members and associates of Primeiro Comando da Massachusetts (PCM) now face charges, according to a statement from the US attorney’s office in Boston. Authorities allege that members and associates of the gang are involved in the illegal sale of guns, drug trafficking, robberies, kidnappings, and armed assaults in a number of communities in the state, including Boston Malden, Everett, Somerville, Framingham, and Peabody.
Last September, federal, state, and local law enforcement officials started investigating the gang, which first appeared in Massachusetts about two years ago, according to court documents. During the probe, officials seized 31 guns, including 27 handguns, two sawed-off shotguns, one shotgun, one rifle, and several hundred rounds of ammunition, authorities said. The defendants, officials said, illegally sold guns and drugs to cooperating witnesses multiple times over the last two years. .
Defendants in the case admitted some of the alleged crimes to cooperating witnesses.
Joao Pedro Marques Guimares Gama, a 21-year-old Brazilian man who was illegally residing in Malden, allegedly told cooperating witnesses that the gang not only committed robberies in Massachusetts, but also had targeted and robbed a drug dealer and his family in Connecticut, federal prosecutors said.
He said that during the robbery, he held a gun to the head of the dealer’s daughter, according to the attorney’s office. During the probe, Costa also allegedly talked about a planned armed robbery with an undercover federal agent and repeatedly stated that it was likely that members or associates of the gang would commit murder during the robbery.
Gama, also known as “Bahianinho,” was arrested and 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. RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal law often used to target organized crime.
Another man charged, Vinicius Goncalves de Assis, is charged with the armed robbery of a Boston market in October 2018. A former Revere resident, he now faces a RICO conspiracy charge.
Edson DaSilva, a 19-year-old who previously lived in Whitman, allegedly committed an armed robbery of a pizza delivery person in Everett last December, according to authorities. DaSilva is currently in state custody on kidnapping and fire arms charges and was federally charged with RICO conspiracy.
In February, DaSilva and Breno Henrique DaSilva were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of a young woman they believed could help them target a rival gang member. According to the attorney’s office, the duo lured the young woman out of a Peabody home and eventually took her to a Maynard residence, where she was held at gun point and threatened.
A cooperating witness alerted authorities, who responded to the scene and eventually arrested Edson DaSilva. Henrique, a Brazilian national who was illegally residing in Somerville, was arrested and charged with RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to commit robbery, and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, according to authorities.
Igor Costa, a 20-year-old who previously lived in Framingham, is alleged to have committed armed robbery of a Weymouth gas station in January. He was federally charged with RICO conspiracy and robbery.
The alleged leader of the gang, a 28-year-old from Malden named Marcio Costa was also arrested, according to officials. Costa, also known as Marcino and Marcinn, 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, according to authorities.
Four of the individuals nabbed in the sweep were arrested administratively by immigration authorities on Thursday, officials said.
“Many of the defendants in this case are illegally present in the United States, and violated the rule of law with reckless abandon, conducting acts of violence, while profiting from the sale of narcotics and weapons,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Boston-based special agent in charge for an investigative unit of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In a statement, US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling called violent gangs “a scourge on our communities.”
“We will not standby and allow these criminals to disrupt the safety and peace of our communities,” he said.
A number of the charges brought forth in the case, including racketeering conspiracy, robbery, and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances can carry up to 20 years behind bars, according to authorities.
Officials from the US attorney’s office, ICE, State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced the sweep on Thursday. Police from Chelsea, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Somerville, and Weymouth, as well as the Middlesex sheriff’s office, assisted with the investigation.