WASHINGTON - Thirteen alleged members of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (Latin Kings) have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Greensboro, N.C., for allegedly conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina Ripley Rand.
According to the indictment, the defendants are members of the Latin Kings, a violent street gang with members operating in North Carolina since at least 2005. The traditional power centers of the Latin Kings are the Chicago and New York metropolitan areas, with thousands of members scattered across the United States and overseas.
“The indictment unsealed today alleges a pattern of violent criminal activity by Latin Kings members in North Carolina,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Criminal street gangs like the Latin Kings endanger communities across the country. We are working hard with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to bring gang members and their associates to justice.”
“We have no tolerance for violent crime in North Carolina,” said U.S. Attorney Rand. “The investigation in this case is part of a coordinated effort between federal, state and local law enforcement to combat violent street gang activity. We will continue to work together to keep our neighborhoods safe, and we will not allow violent street gangs to dictate what happens in our communities.”
“These arrests today are an outstanding example of the tireless work of the Safe Streets Task Force. The gang’s attempt to portray the Latin Kings as a public service organization did not deter the FBI and our law enforcement partners from uncovering their scheme,” said Chris Briese, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Charlotte Division.
According to the indictment, the Latin Kings were allegedly formed in North Carolina by Jorge Peter Cornell, aka “King Jay,” who allegedly became a member of the Latin Kings while he was residing in New York City. When Cornell moved to the Middle District of North Carolina, he allegedly formed a tribe and became the “Inca” for the entire state of North Carolina. It is alleged that, through violence, threats of violence and coercion, Cornell gained control of all of the Latin Kings tribes in North Carolina, including chapters in Greensboro, Charlotte, Durham and Raleigh.
The unsealed indictment also alleges that Cornell, in an attempt to disguise the criminal activities of the Latin Kings and frustrate law enforcement attempts to investigate and prosecute the gang’s members, orchestrated a public relations campaign to falsely portray the Latin Kings as a public service organization. Cornell allegedly made public statements for peace between Greensboro street gangs and regularly held media events with community leaders to publicly advocate for the dissolution of Greensboro Police Department’s gang unit during the same period of time that he allegedly plotted to murder or assault rival gang members, including other Latin Kings, and was involved in other gang-related criminal activities.
The indictment charges the following defendants with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the Latin Kings:
The indictment also charges Perez with a violent crime in aid of racketeering and using a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. The indictment alleges that Latin Kings members committed a wide range of crimes in order to further their racketeering scheme, including armed robberies, kidnappings, arson and assaults.
The indictment was returned under seal on Nov. 29, 2011, and unsealed today after 12 of the defendants were arrested or placed under detainer while in custody on other charges.
Initial appearances for six defendants arrested today in North Carolina will be held in Greensboro federal court at 4 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge P. Trevor Sharp. Williams was arrested in Las Vegas and will appear in federal court there.
Perez is the only defendant not in custody and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Guilford County, N.C., Sheriff’s Deputies and the Greensboro Police Department are searching for him. Please call the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office at 704-672-6100 or the Greensboro-Guilford County Crime Stoppers at 336-373-1000 if you have any information on the whereabouts of Perez.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina and the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and the Greensboro Police Department.
Each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. An indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.