WASHINGTON – Fifteen alleged members or associates of the Almighty Latin Kings and Queen Nation (Latin Kings) have been indicted for their alleged roles in a racketeering conspiracy in Hammond, Ind., and elsewhere, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David Capp of the Northern District of Indiana.
The 15-count third superseding indictment returned by the federal grand jury on Nov. 16, 2011, and unsealed today in Hammond includes 15 new defendants who are charged with conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity from August 1989 until the date of the third superseding indictment. Also included in the third superseding indictment is one new count of conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering activity against Brandon Clay, 24, aka “Cheddar,” “Swiss,” “Slick,” 24, of Chicago, who was charged previously in the indictment.
“The indictment unsealed today alleges that members of the Latin Kings across the Midwestern United States engaged in a years-long pattern of violence, including numerous murders, to control their territory and fund their illicit activities,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “The indictment also alleges that two Chicago police officers assisted the Latin Kings in carrying out their crimes. Corruption of the kind alleged here is shocking, and cannot be tolerated. We will continue doing everything in our power to stop gang violence, and hold those responsible – including any public officials involved – to account. ”
“The gang and violent crime problem in this area is a regional problem that crosses state lines as well as city and town boundaries,” said U.S. Attorney Capp. “This indictment is the result of a regional cooperative federal-local law enforcement effort. We will continue thisregional effort and we will continue to focus on criminal street gangs.”
The following individuals are charged and named in the third superseding indictment:
Previously charged in the case are: Clay; Alexander Vargas, 34, aka “Pacman,” of Highland, Ind.; Sisto Bernal, 45, aka “Cisco” and “Shug,” of Chicago; Jason Ortiz, 28, aka “Creeper,” of Chicago; Martin Anaya, 41, aka “Left,” of Chicago; and Ivan Quiroz, 30, of Posen, Ill. One individual is not named in the indictment.
Nine individuals were taken into custody today and made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich in federal court in Hammond. Nine individuals, including three newly charged in the third superseding indictment, already were in the custody of law enforcement and will be arraigned before Judge Rodovich on a later date. Salazar and Lira are considered fugitives.
The third superseding indictment alleges that the Latin Kings gang was responsible for at least 19 murders, including juveniles and one pregnant woman, in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana area and Big Spring, Texas. In one instance, Bernal, Santiago Gudino, Robles, Jalomos and others allegedly caused Jonathan Zimmerman to be transported to Hammond and then murdered him for using counterfeit currency to purchase drugs.
According to this indictment, Clay, Fernandez, Arambula and others participated in the conspiracy to murder Edward Delatorre and another individual on Nov. 26, 2006. Vargas then allegedly attempted to arrange for others to shoot at people who were attending Delatorre’s funeral on Dec. 2, 2006. On the same day, Vargas directed Quiroz, Chavez and other Latin Kings “enforcers” to increase their efforts to murder leaders of the Latin Dragon gangs in retaliation for the Oct. 2, 2006, murder of Vargas’ younger brother. Months later, the indictment alleges Robles, Salazer, Chavez and another Latin Kings member bet on who would be the first to successfully carry out Vargas’ order to kill a Latin Dragon leader. On Feb. 25, 2007, the indictment alleges that Vargas, Ortiz, Clay, Quiroz and other Latin Kings members participated in the murder of Latin Dragons leaders James Walsh and Gonzalo Diaz outside of the Soprano’s Bar in Griffith, Ind.
The third superseding indictment also alleges that Guerrero and Martinez, while employed as officers with the Chicago Police Department, committed armed robberies on behalf of Bernal, in some instances while in uniform and driving Chicago Police Department-issued vehicles. The indictment alleges that on one occasion, Guerrero and Martinez were assisted by Chavez, a Latin Kings member, during which time they robbed between $30,000 and $40,000 in drug proceeds. The indictment alleges Guerrero and Martinez stole drugs and weapons in addition to cash. In certain instances, Guerrero and Martinez allegedly were given a portion of the funds they stole as payment for committing the armed robberies.
In addition to the alleged acts of violence, the superseding indictment also alleges that the Latin Kings distributed more than 150 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. The indictment also seeks forfeiture.
According to the third superseding indictment, the Latin Kings is a nationwide gang that originated in Chicago and has branched out throughout the United States, including to Texas. The Latin Kings is a well organized street gang that has specific leadership and is comprised of regions that include multiple chapters.
As alleged in the third superseding indictment, the Latin Kings enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, assault and threats against those who violate the rules or pose a threat to the Latin Kings. Members are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members, including taking on assignments often referred to as “missions.”
This case is being investigated by the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the National Gang Targeting, Enforcement & Coordination Center (GangTECC); the National Gang Intelligence Center; the Chicago Police Department; the Griffith Police Department; the Highland Police Department; the Hammond Police Department; and the Houston Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Joseph A. Cooley of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and David Nozick of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana.
The third superseding indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.