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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Latin Kings Leader Sentenced to 228 Months in Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy

Another Latin Kings Member Pleads Guilty for His Role in Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Armed Robbery and a Firebombing

WASHINGTON - U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams Jr. sentenced Andres Echevarria, aka "B-Boy" and "King B-Boy," 23, of Brooklyn, N.Y., today to 228 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for 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).

On Aug. 27, 2010, Miguel Castillo, 23, of Rockville, Md., another member of the Latin Kings, pleaded guilty to his role in the racketeering enterprise, including the armed robbery of a drug dealer and the firebombing of a residence.

The sentence and guilty plea were 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 Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) - Baltimore Field Division; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County, Md., Police Department; Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy; Chief Roberto L. Hylton of the Prince George’s County, Md., Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey; and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.         

"Coordinated, organized violence is a hallmark of the gangs we are fighting," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.  "Molotov cocktails, armed robberies, and other violent means of intimidation and coercion are how these gangs operate, and Andres Echevarria and his co-defendants scorched a violent path that has ultimately led to prison.  Through our coordinated work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners, we are taking back our neighborhoods from these gangs."

"This disturbing case demonstrates that gang membership leads to both organized criminal schemes and senseless acts of violence," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "The ATF-led RAGE task force has proven its value in pursuing violent gangs."

According to Echevarria and Castillo’s plea agreements, the Latin Kings is a violent street gang with thousands of members across the country 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 Echevarria’s plea agreement, he became a member of the Tiger Tribe in Brooklyn in the spring of 2008 and later became a member of the Murda Maya and TBF Tribes in Brooklyn as well as the MOG Tribe in Maryland.  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 that individual made a disparaging remark about the Latin Kings while attending a party at which many Latin King members and associates were present.  In addition, on May 23, 2009, after Echevarria and other Latin King members got into an argument with members of a rival gang in Brooklyn, Echevarria fired a gun at one of the rival gang members.  The bullet missed the rival gang member, but hit another person, causing an abrasion on that person’s back. 

According to the statement of facts, during the summer of 2009, Echevarria and other gang members also 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, but 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, during which Echevarria pointed a gun at the drug dealer’s head.

According to Castillo’s plea agreement, in 2007, Castillo joined the Royal Lion Tribe of the Latin Kings.  In the late summer or fall of 2007, Castillo and other Latin King members, including Francisco Ortiz, planned and carried out the armed robbery of a drug dealer at the Marylander Condominiums in Langley Park, Md., at the direction of the Inca/First Crown.  Castillo admitted that, after one of the Latin Kings knocked on the door, he, Ortiz and another Latin King associate forced their way into the apartment, each carrying a gun.  Once inside, the dealer and his young daughter were held at gunpoint in the bedroom while the Latin Kings searched the residence, eventually stealing a few bags of powder cocaine.

Castillo also admitted that on Jan. 8, 2008, at the direction of the Inca/First Crown, he and two others planned and carried out the firebombing of a residence in Montgomery County.  Castillo and his co-defendants assembled two Molotov cocktails and drove to the residence in the 13000 block of Parkland Drive in the Rockville - Aspen Hill, Md., area.  They waited across the street until the residents inside the house turned off the lights and at approximately 4:00 a.m., the two Molotov cocktails were lit and thrown at house.  At least one struck the house and caught fire.  The victims in the house were awakened by the explosion, saw a fire outside the house and called 911.  The Molotov cocktails self-extinguished and no one was injured.  On Oct. 10, 2008, Castillo pleaded guilty to possession of destructive devices (the Molotov cocktails.)

Castillo faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.  Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. Castillo remains detained.

Co-defendants Miguel Cruz, aka "Skibee" and "King Skibee," 45, of Bronx, N.Y., one of the founders of the Maryland Tribe of the Latin Kings; Nelson Santos, aka "Nelly" and "King Nelly," 27, of Silver Spring, Md.; and Francisco Ortiz, aka "Francis Gabriel Ortis," "Pone," and "King Pone," 26, of Rockville, previously pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy in connection with their gang activities and are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 16, 2010, Oct. 22, 2010, and Dec. 1, 2010, respectively, all at 9:30 a.m.  All remain in federal custody.

The cases are being investigated by the ATF - Baltimore Field Division; Montgomery County Police Department; Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office; Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office; and New York City Police Department.  Additional assistance was provided by the Gaithersburg, Md., 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.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Glatfelter and David Salem, and Trial Attorney Lara M. Peirce of the Criminal Division’s Gang Unit.

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014