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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Hampton drug suspect tied to Latin Kings gang, police allege

03:49 | ,

Gang activity occurs in town, but "not with great frequency," Police Chief Jamie Sullivan said Thursday. The chief was responding to a question from the Hampton Union after court documents revealed one of the five people arrested in recent drug raids at Hampton Beach and Seabrook has ties to the Latin Kings, an infamous street gang with a national network. Related Stories Hampton drug suspect tied to Latin Kings gang, police allegePolice say drug bust sends clear messageTwo arrested in raids allegedly sold cocaine to officersTwo arraigned on drug charges following Friday raidsWeapons, drugs seized in Hampton Beach, Seabrook raidsFive charged and weapons, drugs seized in Hampton Beach, SeabrookFive charged and weapons, drugs seized in Hampton Beach, Seabrook According to the affidavit, police believe Jimmy "Jayda" Ambrosi, 31, who lived in town had a leadership position with a Lowell, Mass., chapter of the gang and if he didn't meet his drug selling quota he would suffer the consequences. Sullivan said he could not comment directly on the affidavit or the case because it is pending. "I will let the affidavit speak for itself," he said. "We work in conjunction with other police departments and we pay close attention to organized criminal activity. And when we see it, we share resources to investigate and we will continue to do that in the future." This information about Ambrosi is contained in a recently unsealed affidavit for the search warrant police obtained to execute the raids. The gang's primary source of income, according to the FBI, is the street-level distribution of powder cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana. The Latin Kings are violent, have thousands of members in the United States and internationally, with power centers in New York City and Chicago, according to a U.S. Department of Justice affidavit filed in a separate case in Massachusetts, where 46 people were arrested early this month, published reports stated. Court documents detail the yearlong Hampton and Seabrook investigation, which led to the arrest of Ambrosi and four others. The probe involved confidential informants, undercover police officers and multiple agencies and state agencies, including the N.H. Attorney General's Drug Task Force. Search warrants were executed around 8 a.m. May 4 at 7 I St. and 7 Perkins Ave. in Hampton and at 71 Washington St. in Seabrook. Authorities seized an unspecified amount of marijuana and cocaine from the three homes, and at the time said they made a made a significant dent in the Seacoast's illegal drugs scene. Arrested during the raids were Ambrosi and Andrew Wojtowicz, 24; Vicki Powell, 31; James Neptune, 27; and David Briere, 28. Two others involved were arrested on May 7. Wojtowicz's twin brother, James, 24, and Reinaldo "Chooki" Ruiz, 24, who according to police is also a documented member of the Latin Kings. The affidavit for the search warrant filed by Hampton police officer Christopher Gilroy said the investigation revealed the group led by Ambrosi and Andrew Wojtowicz worked together and dealt quantities of crack cocaine, powdered cocaine and Ecstasy pills. Police said the investigation began in 2011 but noted in the affidavit that police had previously suspected the Wojtowicz brothers were dealing drugs at the beach. A 2010 stolen property arrest revealed the suspect traded stolen jewelry for drugs from James Wojtowicz, according to the document. In another case, parents of a teen suspected their child stole jewelry to trade it for drugs from the Wojtowicz brothers. Police also received complaints from neighbors throughout 2011 about drug deals at 7 Perkins Ave., including one who called it a "drug den." According to the affidavit, an informant told police the group was "organized" and maintained intelligence on officers and their vehicles. Another source later told police the Wojtowicz brothers were connected with members of the Latin Kings, specifically naming Ambrosi, according to the affidavit. The Lowell Police Department's Community Response Unit, which is primarily responsible for gang intelligence and enforcement specific to gangs, later confirmed to police that Ambrosi was a documented Latin Kings member. During the summer of 2011, Hampton police met with an undercover police detective with the N.H. Attorney General's Drug Task Force, who also had information that Andrew Wojtowicz was a known cocaine dealer in Hampton. A confidential informant and an undercover officer purchased cocaine from Wojtowicz on June 2, 3 and 7, 2011, and they were eventually introduced to Ambrosi, according to the affidavit. They continued to purchase cocaine from members of the group on numerous occasions during the yearlong investigation that featured surveillance, including wiretaps. On one of the buys, according to the affidavit, undercover agents recorded a conversation with Ambrosi, who told them he was in a leadership position with the Latin Kings and that several people reported to him in the organization. Ambrosi spoke about his profit margin from selling controlled drugs, stating he could "suffer consequences" from other Latin Kings if he did not meet a quota. He admitted he makes a consistent profit after the overhead expenses such as "paying drivers, paying back fronted product and paying employees and bosses." Gilroy stated in the affidavit that police were able to determine the drugs were picked up from an unlisted source in Massachusetts, and then transported by vehicle to Hampton, where it was converted to crack cocaine for sale. It was also determined that Powell, who was the girlfriend of Andrew Wojtowicz, had four registered vehicles in her name, which are used to facilitate the drug sales. Powell also purchased firearms for Ambrosi at the Kittery Trading Post in Maine, according to the affidavit. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms interviewed Powell about the purchase of the guns, and she said they were for Ambrosi. Ambrosi and Wojtowicz face federal charges, while the other suspects are facing state felony charges of sale of a controlled drug. Ambrosi was charged in U.S. District Court in Concord with four counts of distributing cocaine and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and one count of distribution of cocaine base. Wojtowicz faces six counts of distribution of cocaine, five counts of distribution of cocaine base and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.

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