The Last of 21 Latin King Members and Associates Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy Involving Two Murders in Indiana
A Cedar Lake, Indiana Latin Kings gang member, was sentenced to 324 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering activity and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana for his role and participation in the Latin Kings street gang, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Thomas L Kirsch II for the Northern District of Indiana.
Sergio M. Robles aka Checko, 30, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Jon E. DeGuilio. At sentencing, Robles was held responsible for participating in the December 2003 murder of Jonathan Zimmerman in Hammond, Indiana, and the May 2008 murder of Jose Cortez in East Chicago, Indiana. The Latin Kings suspected Zimmerman was involved in a drug transaction with counterfeit currency. Accordingly, Zimmerman was shot and killed by a co-defendant. Jose Cortez was shot to death by another co-defendant because the Latin Kings believed Cortez was a member of a rival street gang. According to documents in this case, Robles possessed a firearm in furtherance of the gang’s activities and was involved in a conspiracy to distribute 150 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
“Today’s 27-year sentence demonstrates that our focused efforts on investigating and prosecuting gang members committing violent acts on the streets of Northern Indiana, past or present, is long from over,” said U.S. Attorney Kirsch. “Just last week we had a member receive a 28-year sentence. Our community and law enforcement partnerships are some of the best and we will continue investigating and prosecuting these type of cases.”
According to the third superseding indictment returned on Nov. 16, 2011, the Latin Kings is a nationwide gang that originated in Chicago and has branched out in Indiana and 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. The third superseding indictment filed in this case alleges that the Latin Kings gang was responsible for at least 19 murders in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana area and Big Spring, Texas.
In addition to Robles, 19 other co-defendants, including two former Chicago police officers, entered guilty pleas and were previously sentenced for their roles in the racketeering conspiracy. One co-defendant, Martin Anaya, was convicted of racketeering and drug conspiracies at trial and subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison.
This case was investigated by the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Griffith Police Department; the Chicago Police Department; the East Chicago Police Department; the Hammond Police Department; the Highland Police Department; the Houston Police Department and the Lubbock Police Department. This case was prosecuted by the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section (OCGS) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph A. Cooley (formally a Trial Attorney with OCGS) and David J. Nozick prosecuted this case.