Latin Kings Leader Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy Related to Gang Activities in New York and Maryland
Andres Echevarria, aka "B-Boy" and "King B-Boy," pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, in connection with his gang activities as a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (Latin Kings).
The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy; Chief Roberto L. Hylton of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey; and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
According to Echevarria’s plea agreement, the Latin Kings is a violent street gang with thousands of members across the United States and overseas. The Latin Kings have a detailed and uniform organizational structure, which is outlined – along with various "prayers," codes of behavior and rituals – in a written "manifesto" widely distributed to members throughout the country. Members of the Latin Kings are also traditionally given "King Names" or "Queen Names," which are names other than their legal names by which they are known to members of the gang and to others on the street. At the local level, groups of Latin Kings are organized into "tribes," including the Royal Lion Tribe, MOG, Sun Tribe and UTL.
According to the plea agreement, in the spring of 2008, Echevarria, 23, of Brooklyn, New York, became a member of the Tiger tribe in Brooklyn and later became a member of the Murda Maya tribe, also in Brooklyn, the MOG tribe in Maryland and the TBF tribe in Brooklyn. Echevarria attended Latin King meetings in New York and Maryland, where dues were collected from members and gang business was discussed. According to the statement of facts in the plea agreement, Echevarria also communicated with Latin King members about the gang’s activities using the Internet and by telephone. Echevarria admitted that he held leadership positions in the Latin Kings, including the Third Crown/enforcer position for the MOG tribe in the fall of 2008, and for the Murda Maya tribe at the end of the summer of 2009.
Echevarria admitted that as part of his gang activities, he attempted to murder an individual in Wheaton, Md., on Nov. 1, 2008, after the individual made a disparaging remark about the Latin Kings while attending a party at which many Latin King members and associates were present. According to the plea agreement, Echevarria, along with other Latin King members, threatened to kill the individual, as well as chased and beat the individual. According to the plea agreement, Echevarria stabbed the individual with a two-pronged tool. In addition, on May 23, 2009, Echevarria and other Latin King members got into an argument with members of a rival gang in Brooklyn. According to the statement of facts, Echevarria fired a gun at one of the rival gang members. The bullet missed the rival gang member, traveled some distance and hit another person, penetrating the person’s clothes and causing an abrasion on the person’s back.
According to the statement of facts, during the summer of 2009, Echevarria and other gang members planned to rob a federal firearms licensee (FFL) in Frederick, Md., after learning that the FFL was receiving a large quantity of firearms. Echevarria and the other gang members planned to steal the guns and sell them for a profit. According to the statement of facts, as they were preparing to rob the FFL, they saw a significant number of military personnel near the FFL and abandoned the mission. Also according to the statement of facts, in the summer of 2009, Echevarria and other Latin King members carried out the armed robbery of a drug dealer in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Md., during which Echevarria pointed a gun at the drug dealer’s head.
Echevarria faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr., has scheduled sentencing for Sept. 2, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. Echevarria remains detained.
Co-defendant Manuel Cruz, aka "Skibee" and "King Skibee," 45, of Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty on June 3, 2010, to the racketeering conspiracy in connection with his gang activities and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 16, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. Cruz is one of the founders of the Maryland tribe of the Latin Kings.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Glatfelter and David Salem for the District of Maryland and Trial Attorney Lara M. Peirce of the Criminal Division’s Gang Unit. The investigation was assisted by the Gaithersburg Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland National Capital Park Police - Prince George’s County Division, the Maryland State Police, the U.S. Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.