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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 27, 2014
Almighty Imperial Gangster Member Convicted of Murder and Violent Crime Offenses

Richard Reyes, a member of the Almighty Imperial Gangsters, has been convicted at trial for his role in violent acts as a member of a criminal street gang that operated in Northwest Indiana and is accused of engaging in drug trafficking and acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder and robbery.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David Capp of the Northern District of Indiana made the announcement.

Reyes, 41, of Hammond, Ind., was convicted by a federal jury on Jan. 24, 2014, for his role in the murder of rival Latin King gang member Rene Alonzo on Sept. 16, 2007. According to evidence at trial, Reyes fatally shot Alonzo outside of the U.S. Bar in East Chicago. Reyes was convicted of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and murder in aid of racketeering activity, which each carry a maximum penalty of life in prison; and murder resulting from the use and carrying of a firearm during a crime of violence, which carries a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years in prison consecutive to any other sentence and a maximum of life in prison.

Reyes was among 24 individuals charged in this investigation, and 22 have pleaded guilty, including six men who pleaded guilty in January 2014. Those charged are accused of having participated collectively in 14 murders and eight attempted murders from 2002 to 2012 as part of their criminal enterprise. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial.

On Jan. 13, 2014, Salvador Chavez, 34, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Chief Judge Philip P. Simon in the Northern District of Indiana to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity.

On Jan. 10, 2014, Jason Medina, aka Burns, 30; Edward Raye Serna, 34; and Armando Jose Velasquez, aka Money, age 26, all of East Chicago, Ind., pleaded guilty before Chief Judge Simon. Medina pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity; murder resulting from the use and carrying of a firearm during a crime of violence; and attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Medina admitted that he used a firearm to murder Guadalupe Trevino on July 24, 2005, and attempted to murder a victim on June 6, 2011. Sentencing for Medina is scheduled for June 19, 2014. Edward Serna pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity and admitted to his participation in the same attempted murder on June 6, 2011. Sentencing for Edward Serna is also set for June 19, 2014. Velasquez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, murder resulting from the use and carrying of a firearm during a crime of violence, and attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity. Velasquez admitted he used a firearm on Dec. 3, 2011, when he attempted to murder a victim in aid of racketeering activity. Sentencing for Velasquez is scheduled for June 6, 2014.

On Jan. 3, 2014, Julian Guillermo Serna, aka Big Ju, 24, and Vincent Garza, aka Chente, 22, pleaded guilty before Chief Judge Simon. Julian Serna pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and to murder resulting from the use and carrying of a firearm during a crime of violence. Julian Serna admitted that he used a firearm to murder Mario Soriano on March 25, 2008. Sentencing for Julian Serna is scheduled for July 25, 2014. Garza pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and two counts of homicide in aid of racketeering activity, which each carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. Garza admitted that he participated in the murder of Michael Sessum and Miguel Mejias on June 3, 2008. Sentencing for Garza is scheduled for July 24, 2104.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the East Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Gary Police Department, the Hammond Police Department and the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Nozick of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana and Trial Attorney Bruce Hegyi of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section.

 

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