19 Alleged Latin Kings Gang Members Indicted On Federal Racketeering Conspiracy Charge
Defendants Allegedly Conspired to Commit Murders, Assaults, Robberies and Arson
Greenbelt, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted 19 alleged members of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (Latin Kings) for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, announced U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer. The indictment was returned under seal yesterday and unsealed today upon the arrests of the defendants.
“Gangs, like the one charged in this indictment, may be relentless in protecting their turf, but we will be relentless in taking it back,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. “As this case demonstrates, the Justice Department will use all of its authority – including the RICO statute and the federal conspiracy laws – to dismantle gangs, from the lowest-level members to the highest-ranking leaders. Working together with our partners in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, as well as other federal, state and local agencies, we will make our communities, our neighborhoods, and our children safer by prosecuting these gangs with resolve and determination.”
“This case is part of a series of federal racketeering and conspiracy prosecutions in which federal, state and local agencies have joined to target leaders and key members of violent gangs operating in Maryland,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Today’s indictment alleges that the Latin Kings gang is an organized criminal enterprise with leaders and members who commit violent crimes. Other federal racketeering cases are pending in Maryland against MS-13, PDL Bloods and TTP Bloods, and additional gang investigations are ongoing with the support of federal, state and local partners. We believe that this coordinated approach to gang prosecutions is contributing to the reduction in violent crime in Maryland.”
“Today we executed the enforcement action on a very violent group of criminals who call themselves the Latin Kings,” said ATF Deputy Director Kenneth Melson. We dismantled a large part of the Latin Kings organization whose members allegedly used violence to secure the sanctity of their private society. “We have made a serious impact on violent crime and gang violence. This case is a great example of the efforts of ATF and our law enforcement partners to fight violent crime nationwide.”
According to the indictment, the defendants were members of the Latin Kings, a violent street gang with members operating in Maryland since at least 2007. The traditional power centers of the Latin Kings are predominantly located in the Chicago and New York metropolitan areas, and thousands of members scattered across the United States and overseas.
Members of the Latin Kings greet each other using a set of hand-signs, each intended to evoke the shape of a crown, according to the indictment. In addition, Latin Kings often greet one another by exclaiming “ADR” or “Amor De Rey,” which means “King’s Love” in Spanish. The Latin Kings use symbols depicting three- or five-pointed crowns, lions and Inca- or Aztec-inspired artwork to demonstrate their affiliation. The colors associated with, and often worn by, the Latin Kings are black and gold.
At the local level, groups of Latin Kings are organized into “tribes.” The indictment alleges that in the spring of 2007, Miguel Cruz and Erick Roman established the Maryland Latin Kings, calling the tribe the Royal Lion Tribe of Maryland. The indictment charges that from a date unknown to the present, the Latin Kings members conspired to commit attempted murders, robberies, witness tampering and arson to further their racketeering scheme.
For example, the indictment alleges that Latin Kings members stored guns for Erick Roman, and gathered materials for a firebombing ordered by Roman. Gang members allegedly hunted for rival MS-13 members to shoot; kicked and stabbed a suspected MS-13 member near the Marylander Condominiums in Langley Park, Maryland in December 2007; and in January, 2009, fired shots at MS-13 members at a night club in Queens, New York. Latin Kings members allegedly robbed the home of a drug dealer at the Marylander Condominiums and a prostitute at a motel in Laurel, Maryland; assaulted and stabbed two victims in Wheaton, Maryland; agreed to murder a security guard at an apartment complex near the Marylander Condominiums; and burglarized a gun shop. In the summer of 2009, Francisco Ortiz, Leuri Read and other alleged members attempted to murder a victim by beating him with a wooden object and by stabbing him.
Gang members also allegedly attempted to shoot a victim in the leg for wanting to leave the gang; beat alleged fellow member Joseph Deleon and held another at gunpoint, slicing him with a knife, as punishment for violating Latin Kings rules; created a hit list containing names of Maryland Latin Kings members; and agreed to run background checks on new members and members under investigation. Ortiz, Read, Remy Heath and Brandon Smith allegedly agreed in January 2009 to kill a female gang member for “snitching” on the Latin King members who had just been sentenced in federal court in Maryland for possession of an unregistered destructive device.
Latin Kings members communicate with members of their own tribe and with members across the country through the Internet and telephone. In October 2008, a member ordered all other members to take down any pictures of “hammers [guns] and knives,” on their MySpace pages, due to his belief that the police wanted “to do RICO” on the members. Another member cautioned against talking about shooting people over the telephone.
The indictment charges the following defendants with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the Latin Kings:
Erick Roman, a/k/a “Erick Javier Sierra,” “Malian-T” and “King Malian-T,” age 33;
Miguel Cruz, a/k/a “Skibee” and “King Skibee,” age 44;
Matthew Aguilar, a/k/a “Mateo” and “King Mateo,” age 24;
Miguel Castillo, a/k/a “Colombia” and “King Colombia,” age 22;
Joseph Deleon, a/k/a “Spirit” and “King Spirit,” age 28;
Andres Echevarria, a/k/a “B-Boy” and “King B-Boy,” age 22;
Remy Heath, a/k/a “ Remy,” “King Remy” and “King Mello,” age 25;
Jorge Kilgore, a/k/a “Murda” and “King Murda,” age 20;
Erick Martinez, a/k/a “Eazie” and “King Eazie,” age 19;
Melvin Carlos Nolasco, a/k/a “Joker” and “King Joker,” age 22;
Senni Nolasco-Rodriguez, a/k/a “Cano” and “King Cano,” age 20;
Francisco Ortiz, a/k/a “Francis Gabriel Ortis,” “Pone,” and “King Pone,” age 25;
Roddy E. Paredes Jr., a/k/a “Guate,” “King Guate” and “Walter,” age 27;
Leuri Read, a/k/a “Kampana” and “King Kampana,” age 21;
Alejandro Ivan Rodriguez, a/k/a “Sombra” and “King Sombra,” age 32;
Nelson Santos, a/k/a “Nelly” and “King Nelly,” age 26;
Chinua Shepperdson, a/k/a “Nu,” “NuNu” and “King Nu,” age 27;
Brandon Smith, a/k/a “Little One” and “King Little One,” age 25; and
Hugo Soto-Moran, a/k/a “Vision” and “King Vision,” age 22.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison. The defendants are scheduled to have their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt today starting at 11:00 a.m. One defendant, Remy Heath, is a fugitive.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer thanked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Montgomery County Police Department, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy and his Office, the Prince George’s County Police Department, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey and his Office, the New York City Police Department, the Gaithersburg Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland National Capital Park Police - Prince George’s County Division, the Maryland State Police, the U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Glatfelter and David Salem, and Lara M. Peirce, a Trial Attorney with the Gang Unit, who are prosecuting the case.