Convicted felon sold at least nine guns, ammunition,
bulletproof vest and drugs to a cooperating witness
BOSTON – A member of the Trinitarios street gang pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with trafficking firearms, ammunition, cocaine and crack cocaine in the Greater Lawrence area.
Jose Omar Hernandez-Aragones, 24, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, pleaded guilty to four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm; one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine; and one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base, commonly known as crack cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for March 22, 2022.
Hernandez-Aragones was indicted and arrested in November 2019 as part of a federal sweep targeting federal and state offenders, including members and associates of the Trinitarios street gang, in the Greater Lawrence area.
The Valley Patriot was on the scene as a join task force arrested the gang members in 2019. PHOTOS HERE
Beginning in 2017, law enforcement conducted an investigation into the members, associates and suppliers of the Trinitarios operating in the Greater Lawrence area. The Trinitarios is a street gang originating in the New York area with increased presence in Lawrence and the surrounding communities. According to court documents, many Trinitarios members are involved in a broad range of illegal activities including, but not limited to, firearms and drug trafficking as well as violent crimes undertaken to protect the interests of the gang and its members.
During the investigation, Hernandez-Aragones was identified as a member of the Trinitarios. On four separate occasions between May and July 2018, Hernandez-Aragones sold least nine guns, ammunition, cocaine and crack cocaine to a cooperating witness. Specifically, Hernandez-Aragones sold the cooperating witness two handguns and ammunition for $1,900 on May 16, 2018; a bulletproof vest, a loaded 9 mm handgun, a SKS rifle and a magazine containing ammunition for the rifle on June 4, 2018; two handguns and approximately 55.4 grams of a substance containing cocaine July 3, 2018; as well as three guns, one of which was stolen, and approximately 8.7 grams of a substance containing crack cocaine on July 13, 2018. Hernandez-Aragones is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition due to a 2016 conviction of assault that was punishable by more than one year in prison.
The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine or cocaine base provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division; Matthew B. Mollhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, Boston Field Division; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; and Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Mulcahy of Mendell’s Criminal Division is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.