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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 13, 2019

Latin King Gang Member Sentenced To Life in Prison

For Racketeering Conspiracy Including Murder of Innocent Victim and Drug Conspiracy

HAMMOND-Robert Nieto, also known as “Cowboy,” 45, of Gary, Indiana, and a member of the Chicago-based Latin Kings, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Phillip Simon following his conviction at trial last May of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch.    

Nieto was sentenced to Life in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.                

U.S. Attorney Kirsch said, “Long sentences, such as the sentence imposed in this case, should send a strong message of deterrence to those engaged in these activities.  My office has amplified its efforts to reduce violent crime, and we will use all our resources to prosecute those who commit these senseless acts of violence.  I am dedicated to working together with law enforcement partners to reduce violent crime.” 

According to evidence presented at trial, as part of the racketeering conspiracy, on December 2, 2013, Rolando Correa, 22, of Gary, Indiana, was killed in Gary.  Mr. Correa was coming to the aid of his next door neighbors, who were victims of a home invasion robbery.  Robert Nieto assisted in setting up the home invasion and listened to a police scanner to assist in the escape of the robbers.  The jury found Nieto responsible for Correa’s death in addition to finding that Nieto conspired to distribute or possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine as part of the racketeering conspiracy.  The jury also found that Nieto conspired to distribute or possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine and at least 100 kilograms of marijuana as part of the drug conspiracy.

According to evidence presented at trial and case documents, Nieto was also a local leader of the Latin Kings who has been involved in the gang since at least approximately 2007, distributed cocaine and marijuana, possessed firearms, and ordered fellow gang members to shoot at rivals.  He has a prior felony conviction for aggravated battery.            

Approximately 43 defendants have been charged with racketeering conspiracy as members of the Latin Kings in a criminal conspiracy extending back to 2003.  The racketeering conspiracy charge alleges that gang members and associates were participants in a racketeering conspiracy that involved murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, sex trafficking, and narcotics distribution. 

This case is the result of the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the East Chicago Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Gary Police Department, the Hammond Police Department, the Lake County, Indiana, Sheriff’s Department and Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area officers and agents.  The Lake County Prosecutor’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois, has also provided assistance.  The Latin King racketeering conspiracy case is being prosecuted by Northern District of Indiana Assistant U.S. Attorneys David J. Nozick, Nicholas J. Padilla, Dean R. Lanter, and Joseph A. Cooley, formerly of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.

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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Updated June 13, 2019