Second Member of Lawrence Kidnapping Crew Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison
BOSTON—A Lawrence man was sentenced today to 16 years in prison for his role in a 2012 kidnapping.
Julio Gonzalez, 30, was sentenced to 16 years in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty in November 2014 to conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
Gonzalez was part of a kidnapping crew headed by Alfred Vasquez. On Jan. 30, 2012, Vazquez, Gonzalez, Edgar Acevedo, Alberto Moreno, and Deborah Torres, all of Lawrence, held a gun to a victim and kidnapped him from a street in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood in Boston. Through Vasquez, the crew demanded a $100,000 ransom for the victim’s release and, joined by William Ayala, held the victim in Lawrence for five days. After agents interceded, the victim was rescued, unharmed, in Lawrence. Among other evidence, members of the crew were identified by fingerprint and DNA evidence.
Gonzalez is the second member of this Lawrence-based kidnapping crew to be sentenced. In March 2015, Acevedo was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
The charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping provides for a sentence of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalty. Sentences are imposed based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case is part of a two-year investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Massachusetts State Police, the Lawrence Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies into violent kidnapping and home invasion crews operating in Lawrence. According to affidavits and other documents filed in court, the investigation revealed that the majority of these kidnappings were carried out by organized, armed, violent crews often referred to as Joloperros (loosely translated as “Stick-up Guys”). These Joloperros crews typically kidnapped drug dealers for large ransoms, paid in cash and/or drugs; used safe houses to hold their hostages; and sometimes assaulted and burned their victims while they held them captive. These crews also frequently used sophisticated tracking techniques, such as GPS devices, to follow their victims before the abductions, and at times used associates in the Dominican Republic to receive ransom money.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Chief James Fitzpatrick of the Lawrence Police Department; Commissioner William Evans of the Boston Police Department; Chief Domenic J. DiMella of the Saugus Police Department, made the announcement today. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter K. Levitt, Christopher Pohl, and Timothy E. Moran of Ortiz’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit.