EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 24, 2013

Lawrence gang member faces up to 10 years in prison

LAWRENCE – A Lawrence gang member faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges of illegally possessing a firearm and 84 rounds of ammunition.

Orlando Valle, 26, pleaded guilty Tuesday to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton. The maximum sentence under the statute is 10 years in prison, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2013.

On Nov. 21, 2011, troopers with the Massachusetts State Police, detectives with the Lawrence Police Department, and an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives went to 282 Farnham Street in Lawrence to arrest Valle on an outstanding warrant. In the process of arresting Valle, one of the officers saw a black handgun on a heater in the defendant’s bedroom.

Lawrence detectives obtained a search warrant and seized a .22 caliber firearm; 84 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition; mail, bills, and other documents showing Valle lived in the apartment; a written constitution for the Immortal Outlaws street gang; and several cellular telephones.

Detectives later recovered several photographs of Valle holding firearms, including a photograph of Valle holding what appeared to be the gun found in his bedroom. The Lawrence Police Department had previously identified Valle as a member of the Immortal Outlaws, a violent street gang operating in Lawrence and elsewhere.

The case against Valle commenced with state charges brought by Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett following Valle’s arrest in Lawrence and was then referred for federal prosecution.

This case was one of several federal prosecutions brought in the past year targeting violent crime in Lawrence committed by gang members, armed kidnapping and home invasion crews, large-scale drug traffickers, and others. These cases have been investigated by a working group of federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, ATF, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Massachusetts State Police, the Lawrence Police Department, and others.

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