Kankakee Latin Kings Leader, Members Face Charges in Federal Court
Urbana, Ill. - Five Kankakee area men identified as local leaders and members of the Latin Kings and a girlfriend of one of the men are scheduled for trial in August 2016, on federal charges, after making their respective initial appearances in Urbana, Ill., before U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce. A federal grand jury returned three indictments earlier in June 2016, but the charges had remained sealed pending their arrests and court appearances.
James Atwood, 31, of Bourbonnais, Ill., Jessie Dorsett, 22, and Jovan Saulsberry, both of Kankakee, Ill., are charged in one indictment with conspiracy to distribute cocaine from Nov. 5, 2014 to Feb. 3, 2015, and with distribution of cocaine. If convicted, both offenses carry statutory penalties of up to 20 years in prison; if a defendant has a prior felony drug conviction, the statutory penalty increases to up to 30 years in prison.
In a separate indictment, Jesse Guardiola, 43, of the 2200 block of E 3100 North Road, Martinton, Ill., is charged with five counts of possession of a firearm by a felon. The indictment alleges that Guardiola possessed firearms on five occasions in 2014 and 2015. Guardiola’s girlfriend, Heather Grad, 30, of the 300 block of E. Court St., Kankakee, Ill., is charged with Guardiola in count two of the indictment, with possession of a firearm by a felon on Feb. 11, 2015.
A third indictment charges Santos Salgado, 30, of the 800 block of E. Station, Kankakee, Ill., with two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon in 2016 and 2014.
If convicted, possession of a firearm by a felon carries a statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Atwood, Saulsberry, Guardiola, and Salgado remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Dorsett is already in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections on unrelated charges. Grad has been released on bond. Trial for the defendants in each case is scheduled on Aug. 16, 2016.
The charges are the result of ongoing investigations related to violent crime in the Kankakee area by the Kankakee Area Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Kankakee Police Department; Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group; Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office; Illinois State Police; and Kankakee County Corrections. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Freres in cooperation with the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.