Gang leader arrested on drug, parole violation charges

Dec 3, 7:07 AM EST

Gang leader arrested on drug, parole violation charges

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Police arrested the leader of the Almighty Latin Kings Nation after they allegedly caught him in the middle of an alleged heroin delivery.

Eric A. Thomas, 29, has been out on parole on racketeering and attempt to murder charges for the last two years.

Police tell The Providence Journal they recently received a tip about the sale of large amounts of heroin from a beige Cadillac in the Valley area.

They tracked down Thomas near his old neighborhood. Thomas was living in a second-floor apartment, from which he was allegedly making his deliveries.

Thomas allegedly had 41 grams of heroin in his pockets and $1,550 cash when he was arrested Monday.

Thomas is back in jail, held as a parole violator, and facing new charges of drug possession of one ounce to one kilogram of heroin and possession with intent to deliver heroin.

The Almighty Latin Kings has more than 150 members in Rhode Island and is the largest and most active Hispanic gang in Providence, police said.

Thomas has his own criminal history of assault and drug charges. Six years ago, he was part of a case that marked the first time that Rhode Island used the racketeering law to prosecute a street gang.

The state racketeering law was originally written to fight the mob. This time, it was used because the crimes were committed by members of an organized group that engages in criminal activity.

Thomas and Joel Francisco, 25, had pleaded no contest in 1997 on charges of assault with intent to murder, conspiracy, racketeering, and racketeering conspiracy.

The two were accused of shooting a man in the back of the head, execution style, for apparently “disrespecting” their claims to membership in the gang. The victim survived.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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