Cops say the D Street projects in South Boston are a hot spot for gang activity – with a high-capacity gun bust during a music video shoot allegedly affiliated with Latin Kings that n is only the latest example.
An “active gang investigation” led a joint local and state police gang unit Tuesday night to Orton Field in south Boston, where cops had learned of a “high possibility of gang associates D Street/Latin Kings,” including at least six known gang members, were filming a music video, according to a police report following the arrest of a man who is now behind bars.
The cops wrote that the gang unit – the Youth Violence Strike Force, as the police officially call it – decided to move into the area because gang music video shoots often involve “illegal activity of guns of the filming group, as well as rivals looking to take advantage of a large conglomeration of enemies in a single frame.
Undercover cops, from the Boston Police Department, Massachusetts State Police and MBTA Transit Police, arrived in force in a “convoy of unmarked black Ford Explorer police cars” in the field area in the middle of the D Street projects. According to the police report, they focused on a “hefty Hispanic man who was outside the basketball court being filmed by a videographer. The man, later identified as Junior Martinez-Perello , immediately pointed the finger at the videographer while shouting “tell them it’s just a video, we are filming a video”.
The man then began to walk away, pinning his arm to his waist. Cops patted “the area of Perello’s front waistband and felt a hard metal object consistent with the shape and feel of a firearm,” according to documents. Martinez-Perello then tried to escape and reached for his belt, cops say, but they tackled him to the ground and arrested him after a struggle.
The hard object in his pants was indeed a firearm, cops say: a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson 4003 with a high-capacity feeder. The gun had 10 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, police wrote.
Cops said “a large, unruly crowd” had formed, with people yelling at officers, who called for reinforcements. Police searched the others, they wrote, but all of those searches turned up clean. Hunting dogs also searched the area, but found nothing else.
Martinez-Perello, 23, is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and resisting arrest, and will remain in custody pending a dangerousness hearing on Friday. Prosecutors said they would seek to revoke Martinez-Perello’s bail in an open traffic case outside of Norfolk County.
This police report is somewhat unusual in the detail the author, gang unit officer Jonathan O’Brien, elaborated on specific concerns in the D Street Projects area off West Broadway , listing various suspected gang associates that cops believed were present and a description of gang activity there.
He wrote that “the D Street Housing Development has been statistically proven to be the most violent section of Boston’s South Neighborhood” in terms of the number of gunshot calls. This, he wrote, “is attributed to the fact that the D Street development is territory for both D Street/Morton Street Bricks/Latin King and Morse Street gang associates.”
A community source said the D Street gang has long caused trouble in the area. The Morse Street gang, named after a small side street in the Four Corners area of Dorchester, has been more active in the city of late.
The “small summary” of several incidents that the cops provided in the report sheds light on this a little further. In 2018, cops from a gang unit guarding a memorial for a slain gang member arrested some of the man’s D Street “associates,” the cops wrote. And then in 2020, Morse Street members begin to show up, with three arrested on D Street in two incidents in May.
Last July, another music video “collaboration” between D Street/Latin Kings and members of Health Street, a violent Mission Hill gang, ended with the arrest of another Morse Street member who lives in D Street projects. Two other Morse Street members were arrested a month later in a traffic stop, then another in October, along with three other men who were not identified as gang-associated.
The Boston Housing Authority, which manages the D Street projects, said in a statement that it was working in partnership with law enforcement. Asked about the deportation process for those accused of gun crimes, a BHA spokesperson said: “We handle deportation cases with care and there is a process we follow to decide on whether or not to proceed with an eviction. That being said, in the case of serious lease violations involving criminal activity and threats to community safety, we will evict.
Boston City Council Public Safety Chairman Michael Flaherty, who lives near Southie, applauded the cops and added, “Gangs and guns will not be tolerated anywhere, especially on basketball courts, Boston’s parks and playgrounds.