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Press Release

Newburgh Latin Kings Leader Jose Lagos Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Three Murders

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
All 35 Charged Members And Associates Of The Gang Were Convicted, Defendant Is The 26th Member Or Associate Of The Gang To Be Sentenced, Remaining Top Two Leaders Of The Gang Await Mandatory Life Sentences

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOSE LAGOS, a leader of the Latin Kings gang in Newburgh, New York (the “Newburgh Latin Kings”), was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains federal court to 40 years in prison. LAGOS’s criminal conduct, for which he was sentenced, included three murders, shootings, brandishing firearms, assaults, drug distribution, and other acts of racketeering. LAGOS, 23, is one of 35 members and associates of the gang who were charged in the case, all of whom have been convicted, 26 of whom have been sentenced. The remaining top two leaders of the gang, Wilson Pagan and Christian Sanchez, were convicted at trial of murder, racketeering, firearms, and narcotics offenses, and each faces a mandatory life sentence.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “With this sentencing, and the pending sentencing of Lagos’s two key accomplices, the leadership of the gang that deprived the citizens of Newburgh of their well-being has been decapitated. This result was only accomplished by the unflagging efforts of the federal, state and local law enforcement personnel and the prosecution team. Today, Newburgh is a safer place but we are not relenting in our efforts to lift the shadow that gangs cast over its streets.”

According to the Indictment to which LAGOS pled guilty, statements made during the plea and sentencing proceedings, other court documents, and evidence presented during related trials:

On May 6, 2008, LAGOS, then a leader of the Newburgh Latin Kings, ordered two others to shoot a member of a rival gang, the Bloods. The subordinates followed LAGOS’s orders, but mistakenly shot and killed Jeffrey Zachary, a 15-year-old boy, who had nothing to do with the gang dispute.

On March 11, 2010, LAGOS, then still a leader of the Newburgh Latin Kings, ordered, along with others, two others to shoot a member of the Bloods. The subordinates followed LAGOS’s and the other leaders’ orders, but one of the subordinates, Jerome Scarlett, was instead mistakenly shot and killed.

On March 12, 2010, LAGOS, along with other leaders of the Newburgh Latin Kings, ordered the killing of John Maldonado, whom they suspected had killed Scarlett. LAGOS helped to obtain a gun while other members of the gang plotted the murder. Another member of the gang shot Maldonado, unsuspecting, in the back, killing him.

LAGOS carried out the murders as part of his participation in the criminal affairs of the Newburgh Latin Kings. Among the gang’s criminal objectives was selling drugs, including by controlling corners in the City of Newburgh where they regularly met with drug customers to sell crack, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Gang members, and leaders such as LAGOS, conspired together to protect their drug turf, and to attempt to expand the gang’s drug turf, including by using violence to kill, hurt, or intimidate the gang’s rivals or other enemies of the gang.

Mr. Bharara thanked the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force for their work on the Latin Kings investigation. The Task Force is led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and combines the resources of dozens of law enforcement officers from federal, state, and local agencies and departments, including: agents and officers of the FBI; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the City of Newburgh Police Department; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; the Middletown Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office; and the New York State Police.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Allee, Abigail S. Kurland and Nicholas McQuaid are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated May 13, 2015

Press Release Number: 13-304