EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 29, 2012

Revenge fueled 2010 bar shooting

The 2010 double murder in La Guira nightclub was a retaliation hit for a previous armed robbery during which at least two members of a violent Lawrence-based kidnapping gang stole several kilograms of cocaine from Johan Saintclair, the accused shooter, according to federal court documents.

Saintclair was arrested after the Sept. 6, 2010, shooting that left two people dead and three others wounded. His trial is scheduled to start in Salem Superior Court next month. In an affidavit filed in federal court yesterday, a special agent with the FBI described how a gang of at least nine men, who were charged yesterday with federal kidnapping and firearms charges, would rob and kidnap people, mostly drug dealers, beat them, torture them with hot irons, and hold them for ransoms in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The Investigative Team has received information that the La Guira shooting was in retaliation for an earlier robbery of Saintclair, and that at least two of the victims of the La Guira shooting are associates of Danny Veloz,” special agent John Orlando wrote in his affidavit.

Veloz, 36, 443-447 Andover St., Lawrence, was the ringleader of a kidnapping gang called the Veloz Crew, according to federal agents. They said he used a laptop in his apartment to track potential victims whose vehicles were secretly tagged with a GPS device and directed the other gang members while they executed the kidnappings and robberies.

Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said he could not comment on the connection of the nightclub shooting to the Veloz Crew and a drug robbery because of Saintclair’s upcoming trial.

According to the affidavit, one of the surviving victims of the La Guira shooting told officers he had participated in a robbery with Juan Esteban Suazo, who was one of the two men killed in the nightclub, and another individual “of a drug dealer (Saintclair) for multiple kilograms of cocaine.”

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