WASHINGTON – A former Chicago police officer and two members of the Latin Kings street gang were sentenced this week in Indiana to serve prison time for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy and other related charges, 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.
Former Chicago Police Officer Alex Guerrero, 41, of Chicago, was sentenced today to serve 228 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Antonio Gudino, aka “Chronic,” 31, of Hammond, Ind., was sentenced yesterday to serve 175 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Brandon Clay, aka “Cheddar,” “Cheddar Boy,” “Swiss” and “Slick” 25, of Chicago, was sentenced Wednesday to serve 360 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Guerrero, Gudino and Clay were each sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano in the Northern District of Indiana.
On Aug. 2, 2012, Guerrero pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, interference with commerce by threats or violence, and use and carrying of a firearm during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking. On July 31, 2012, Gudino and Clay each pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy.
According to the third superseding indictment filed in this case, the Latin Kings is a nationwide gang that originated in Chicago and has branched out throughout the United States. The Latin Kings is a well organized street gang that has specific leadership and is composed of regions that include multiple chapters. The third superseding indictment charges that the Latin Kings were responsible for at least 19 murders, including juveniles and one pregnant woman, in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana area and Big Spring, Texas.
According to 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.”
During their guilty plea proceedings, Guerrero, who was a Chicago Police Department officer, admitted to being associated with the Latin Kings, and Gudino and Clay admitted to being Latin King members from an early age. They also acknowledged they were aware that the Latin Kings distributed more than 150 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana over the course of the racketeering conspiracy. Guerrero admitted in his plea agreement that he was responsible for possession of and distribution of 150 kilograms or more of cocaine. Gudino and Clay admitted to participating in street activities to further the drug trafficking and other gang activities.
Guerrero also admitted to participating in robberies at the direction of Latin Kings leader and co-conspirator Sisto Bernal. Specifically, Guerrero acknowledged that in approximately December 2006, he entered into the Hammond residence of James Walsh, a rival gang member. Guerrero and his police partner and co-defendant Antonio Martinez physically restrained Walsh and others while the home was searched and robbed. Guerrero admitted that by committing these crimes while employed as a Chicago police officer, he abused a position of public trust in a manner that significantly facilitated the commission or concealment of the offense. Bernal and Martinez previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the racketeering and robbery conspiracies.
Guerrero resigned from the Chicago Police Department following his plea hearing.
Clay acknowledged that on Feb. 25, 2007, he, along with four other defendants, rode on a “mission” from Illinois to Griffith, Ind. While armed with three firearms, they were ordered to shoot to kill rival gang members who were attending a party. Once the two rival members – James Walsh and Gonzalo Diaz – left the party, several Latin Kings members, including Clay, rode up in a vehicle, and Clay and another defendant got out of the vehicle and shot and killed Walsh and Diaz. On April 22, 2009, Clay, along with two other defendants, drove to a rival gang neighborhood and caused the shooting death of Christiana Campos, a member of a rival gang.
Twenty-three Latin Kings members and associates have been indicted in this case. Twenty have pleaded guilty; one was found guilty following a jury trial; one awaits trial; and one remains a fugitive.
This case was investigated by the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; ICE Homeland Security Investigations; the National Gang Intelligence Center; the Chicago Police Department; the Houston Police Department; the Griffith Police Department; the Highland Police Department; the Hammond Police Department; and the East Chicago Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Joseph A. Cooley of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and David J. Nozick of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Porter of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois provided significant assistance.
The third superseding indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants who have not been convicted are innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.