The Black Mob: Founding boss of New York’s largest Latin Kings set gets 27 years in prison

By Gangsters Inc. Editors

One of the highest-ranking bosses of the Latin Kings was sentenced to 27 years in prison last week. 46-year-old Diego “Casa” Mateo founded and led the Black Mob set of the Latin Kings and their distribution of narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine.

Mateo, who resided in the Bronx, New York, pled guilty on February 23, 2022. The Black Mob is a New York-based set, or “tribe,” of the nationwide Latin Kings gang. He founded the gang in 2002 and then grew it into the largest Latin Kings set in the New York area numbering around 300 members. Its power base was built on massive amounts of drug trafficking and a reputation for violence.

Shooting grieving relatives at a funeral

The fear and power wielded by the Black Mob amplified Mateo’s own personal reputation, making him, at one point, the highest-ranking Latin King in the entire East Coast. As the leader of the Black Mob, he oversaw the gang’s operations and also ordered and participated in acts of violence and narcotics trafficking.

This violence included multiple arsons, including a 2016 arson of a commercial wedding venue in Connecticut, and a November 18, 2012, shooting at a gang rival’s funeral that was ordered by Mateo. Three of the deceased’s family members were shot.

Black Mob busted

In December 2019, 17 members and associates of the Black Mob were charged with racketeering offenses, narcotics conspiracy, and firearms offenses. In April 2021, seven additional members and associates of the gang were charged, including Mateo.

The defendants in this case have included the entire senior leadership of the gang and its most violent members. In addition to Thursday’s sentencing of Mateo, the sentences of the Black Mob leadership have included Carmelo Velez (228 months in prison), Christopher Rodriguez (210 months in prison), Angel Lopez (240 months in prison), Luis Sepulveda (180 months in prison), Emmanuel Bonafe (216 months in prison), Mark Woods (228 months in prison), William Gonzalez (204 months in prison), Alberto Borges (204 months in prison), Ricardo Ricuarte (168 months in prison), Juan Hernandez (192 months in prison), Raul Cuello (168 months in prison), and Paul Cuello (168 months in prison).

“For two decades, Mateo ran the largest and most violent set of the Latin Kings in the New York area,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. “He recruited hundreds of young men into his gang and used them to run a massive drug operation that committed countless acts of violence. Today’s sentencing — along with the other significant sentences that have been imposed in this case — proves that gang life is not glamorous and will lead to years in prison.”   

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