Drug Enforcement Administration
Skip Navigation

Press Room
News Releases
E-mail updates red envelope
Speeches & Testimony
Multi-Media Library

About Us
Mission
Leadership
History
Organizational Chart
Programs & Operations
Wall of Honor
DEA Museum
Office Locations

Careers at DEA

DEA Drug Information
Drug Information Resources

Law Enforcement
Most Wanted
Major Operations
Threat Assessment
Training Programs
Stats & Facts
Additional Resources

Drug Prevention
For Young Adults
For Parents
Additional Drug Resources

Diversion Control & Prescription Drugs
Registration
Cases Against Doctors

Drug Policy
Controlled Substances Act
Federal Trafficking Penalties
Drug Scheduling

Legislative Resources

Publications

Acquisitions & Contracts

Need to know more about drugs?  www.justthinktwice.com

GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2004

Chicago Neighborhood Drug Conspiracies Exposed
13 Defendants Including Four Alleged Latin Kings Charged

CHICAGO – Thirteen defendants, including four alleged leaders of a faction of the Latin
Kings street gang, were being sought today on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute powder cocaine and marijuana in two south Chicago neighborhoods and northwest Indiana. A criminal complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court was unsealed today after federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Chicago Police Department, began arresting the defendants and executing search warrants. As of noon, six defendants were in custody. The charges allege that the four gang defendants were leaders of a faction of the Latin Kings operating in the Pullman and Kensington neighborhoods on the city’s south side, with the remaining defendants were alleged associates, drug customers and suppliers.

The defendants include Jose Jaramillo, 22, of Chicago, identified in the complaint affidavit
as the leader, or “Inca,” of the Pullman Kings faction of the Latin Kings; Hugo Melero, 25, of Chicago, identified as the faction’s “Enforcer,” and alleged high-ranking members Isaac Valles, 23, of Lansing, and Jose Jaramillo’s brother, David Jaramillo, 20, of Chicago. The complaint identifies the Pullman neighborhood as roughly bounded by Langley Avenue (to the east), Cottage Grove Road (to the west), 111th Street (to the north) and 115th Street (to the south), and the nearby Kensington neighborhood as bounded by Front Street (to the east), Michigan Avenue (to the west), 115th Street (to the north) and 117th Street (to the south).

According to the complaint, the investigation began in February when a former Latin Kings
“ Inca” on the city’s west side began purchasing cocaine from Melero. Undercover agents also allegedly made three controlled purchases of cocaine from Melero in February and March. In a conversation during one of the deals, Melero allegedly warned the undercover officer that this “better not be a trap.”

The affidavit details conversations and transactions that resulted in charges against two alleged cocaine suppliers, defendants Gabino-Carrera, 24, and Moises Tirado, 27, both of Hammond. During a conversation on May 16, agents and police officers learned that several Latin Kings, including Melero, Jose Jaramillo and Valles allegedly were gathering to retaliate against a rival street gang for the shooting earlier that day of a Latin King nicknamed “Lucifer.” DEA agents subsequently joined the already heavy presence of Chicago police officers to saturate the Pullman and Kensington neighborhoods to prevent further violence. Later information disclosed that the joint DEA/CPD presence did in fact prevent the defendants from immediately retaliating.

On Aug. 18, information obtained resulted in the seizure of approximately 10 kilograms of powder cocaine and a kilogram of marijuana from the trunk of a car driven by defendant Cesar Herrera, 29, of Hammond. Herrera was stopped after following a vehicle being driven by Carrera and they were observed communicating via direct connect mobile phones, the complaint alleges. Two days later, Carerra told Valles in a conversation that he thought the officers were “feds” and that he and Herrera were “caught,” according to the affidavit.

Also charged in the conspiracy were Melero’s father, Adam Melero, Sr., 53, of Chicago; Sandra Del Real, 21, of Lansing, who is identified as Valles’ girlfriend; Daniel Kawzinski, 41, of Lake Station, Ind.; Jason Hardin, 25, of Rantoul; Joel Jacinto, 44, of Highland, Ind.; and Leonard Valencia, 43, of Chicago. Those arrested early today were Jose Jaramillo, Valles, Tirado, Del Real, Hardin and Valencia, while Hugo Melero was already in custody. All 13 defendants were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and marijuana since February. Those arrested today appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow beginning.

The arrests and charges were announced by Richard W. Sanders, Special Agent-in-Charge of DEA-Chicago, Chicago Police Superintendent Philip J. Cline, and Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The DEA and the CPD coordinated the investigation through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force. The Illinois State Police and the Hammond, Ind., Police Department also assisted in the investigation. The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy J. Chapman and Maribel Fernandez-Harvath.

If convicted, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and
a maximum sentence of life and a $4 million fine. The public is reminded that a criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

# # # #

Home USDOJ.GOV Privacy Policy Contact Us Site Map