15 gang members from Dorchester in Boston charged with RICO violations, 16 others also indicted

Federal agents working in conjunction the Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police have rounded up and brought to federal court 20 alleged members or associates of a street gang called Norton/Olney/Barry, or “NOB”.

Two other associates had already been charged with drug trafficking and firearms related offenses. Nine other individuals were charged with conspiring to distribute controlled substances, including fentanyl, in an offshoot drug trafficking ring linked to NOB.

The federal agents accuse NOB, whose home turf is in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, of being a “full-service” gang that, when not busy shooting rivals, pushing drugs, pimping women and robbing people at gunpoint, produced a series of rap videos which often featured scenes from the neighborhood, at times even on turf belonging to rival gangs, as a way of taunting the competition.

In the most serious of four separate cases unsealed in the U.S. District Court in Boston, 15 alleged gang members were charged with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act violations that include murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery, narcotics trafficking and sex trafficking across state lines. The charges concern incidents that took place in Dorchester, New Bedford, Stoughton and Brockton, all in Eastern Massachusetts, as well as in Connecticut and Maine.

In two separate cases, 11 additional alleged NOB members were charged with dealing in cocaine and fentanyl in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, as well as on Cape Cod. One alleged member was charged separately with bank fraud in the South Shore region of Massachusetts. Four others were each charged for crimes such as being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

According to an affidavit filed by a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent who participated in the investigation, three alleged members of the NOB gang - who sometimes called themselves “Head Shot Mafia” - were responsible for an incident on February 20 in which one of them kidnapped a five-year-old girl. When they spotted a man get out of his car to enter a takeout restaurant, leaving the keys in the ignition, one ran over, got in and drove away - with the man's daughter in the back seat. The thief let the girl out in the city of Randolph, physically unharmed.

According to the court affidavit, NOB gang members, most prominently Michael “G Fredo” Brandao, created a series of rap videos posted to YouTube, extolling their shootings and other crimes, mourning for members who had been murdered, and threatening rivals, particularly the Cameron Street Gang, with which they had an especially vicious feud.

One of Brandao's videos (released in 2019) is titled Die Homes, referring to the Homes Avenue street gang, a Norton/Olney/Barry rival. The video includes express threats to shoot Homes Avenue gang members and was filmed right on Homes Avenue, as a means of showing disrespect. The video includes the simulated execution of a Homes Avenue gang member, as well as the setting on fire of clothing items typically worn by Homes Avenue gang members. The video also shows Brandao bragging that he targeted a Cameron Street gang member for violence, and taunting them through a reference to a murdered Cameron Street member. Multiple other NOB gang members or associates take part in the video, including defendants Ricky Pina and Samael Mathieu. In the video, Brandao, Mathieu and Pina all flash NOB hand signs.

Among the crimes gang members have been charged with are three murders and one failed murder attempt in Dorchester.

Murder in a Dorchester barber shop

On September 5, 2017, Albert Monteiro of the the Cameron Street Gang was shot to death in a barbershop. From court documents: Based on ballistic evidence, the pistol used for this prior shooting was recovered from NOB member Alidio Barbosa's possession on or about September 11, 2017.

According to evidence gathered in a homicide investigation conducted by the Boston Police Department (BPD), two individuals arrived on a scooter (which are useful because they can reach locations inaccessible by car). The man on the back of the scooter walked into the barbershop and shot the victim multiple times. At the time, defendant Ricky Pina was on state court-ordered GPS monitoring. The GPS data pinpointed his location on the date of the murder. It also demonstrated that, in the short time period leading up to the murder, Pina drove past the area multiple times, typical of reconnaissance activity conducted prior to a murder.

Murder on Trull Street in Dorchester, memorialized on YouTube

On February 3, 2018, John Colon was shot to death in front of his house, and a second man was injured.

According to the BPD investigation, two shooters approached from the area of an adjacent alley and started shooting, hitting the victim multiple times. Witnesses recounted that prior to the murder, a vehicle (later identified as a rented Chrysler Pacifica) was seen by the victim and others driving slowly past them - an activity consistent with the setting up of a shooting. Witnesses told BPD investigators that the victim stated out loud that one of the people in the vehicle was “G Fredo”, which is the street name for defendant Michael Brandao. Per witnesses, the victim also said the “kids” in the vehicle had “smoke” (or a conflict) with the victim. The vehicle was observed by witnesses driving slowly towards the area a second time, shortly before the shooting took place.

Less than six weeks after the murder, Brandao put out a rap video titled They Don't Know, which features several other NOB members or associates, including the one who rented the Pacifica. In the video, Brandao references the murders of two of his NOB associates. Brandao states that they got revenge for one of the murdered NOB associates, and declares that he “ran up and dropped a body.” The video actually recreates a murder that shares the same circumstances as the murder of a person referred to in court documents as “John Doe 4”.

Attempted murder on Winter Street in Dorchester

On May 17, 2018, two men were shot on Winter Street, in Cameron Street Gang territory in Dorchester. One of the injured was a Cameron Street member, but one was a NOB member. The NOB thug had exited his car and opened fire on a group of men, but (and this does happen sometimes) they had guns too, and fired back, hitting both the NOB shooter and driver.

NOB members or associates were also accused of sex trafficking, including transporting women across state lines to have them engage in prostitution. For instance, an NOB member allegedly transported two sisters – one of whom was a minor at the time – from Massachusetts to Connecticut in April 2017 for the purpose of having them engage in prostitution.

In a separate case, nine alleged NOB gang members are charged with running a coke and fentanyl ring in Dorchester. According to a separate affidavit by an FBI agent, one member continued to push drugs even though he was on house arrest, while another was on probation for child rape.

This mini drug trafficking ring was done in by a 2017 undercover operation. One NOB member was recorded offering a deal to an undercover officer posing as a street-level drug dealer, in which the gang member would pay the supposed dealer in fentanyl for every new customer he recruited.