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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 16, 2019

Chicago Man Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges for Allegedly Committing Murder to Increase Position in Violent Street Gang

CHICAGO — A grand jury has indicted a Chicago man on federal racketeering charges for allegedly committing murder to maintain and increase his position in a violent street gang.

LUIS CONTRERAS, 39, is charged with one count of murder in aid of racketeering, one count of attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and two counts of illegally possessing multiple firearms and ammunition.  The indictment accuses Contreras of murdering Andre Franzell on Feb. 18, 2018, for the purpose of maintaining and increasing Contreras’s position in the Latin Saints street gang.  Franzell, 23, was fatally shot in the 7700 block of South Kilbourn Avenue in Chicago’s Scottsdale neighborhood.

The indictment was returned Wednesday in federal court in Chicago.  Arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Timothy Jones, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago; and Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kavitha Babu and Nicholas J. Eichenseer.

The indictment alleges that the Latin Saints is a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in narcotics trafficking and committed acts of violence, including murder and assault, to acquire and preserve the gang’s territory on the South Side of Chicago.  Members of the Latin Saints publicly claimed responsibility for their activities, boasted about the gang on social media, and intimidated rival gang members through acts and threats of violence, according to the indictment.

The attempted murder count accuses Contreras of trying to kill a man on the same day as the Franzell murder.  The illegal firearm possession counts allege that Contreras is a convicted felon who was not lawfully allowed to possess a firearm or ammunition.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Murder in aid of racketeering is punishable by a mandatory sentence of life in prison, and the death penalty is also possible.   The attempted murder count and the illegal gun possession counts are each punishable by up to ten years in prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Updated May 16, 2019