HAMMOND, IN. – Fifteen alleged members or associates of the Latin Kings have been indicted for their alleged roles in a racketeering conspiracy in Hammond, Ind., and elsewhere, announced U.S. Attorney David Capp of the Northern District of Indiana and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
The third superseding indictment returned by the federal grand jury on November 16, 2011, and unsealed on November 18, 2011, charges twenty defendants with conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity.
Previously charged in the case are:
Twelve individuals were arrested last Friday, and six individuals already were in the custody of law enforcement. Paulino Salazar and David Lira are considered fugitives.
The third superseding indictment alleges that the Latin Kings gang was responsible for at least 19 murders in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana area and Big Spring, Texas. In one instance, Bernal, Gudino, Robles, Jalomos and others allegedly caused Jonathan Zimmerman to be transported to Hammond and then murdered him for using counterfeit currency to purchase drugs.
According to this indictment, Clay, Fernandez, Arambula, and others participated in the conspiracy to murder of Edward Delatorre and another individual on Nov. 26, 2006. Vargas then allegedly sought to have others shoot people who were attending Delatorre’s funeral on Dec. 2, 2006. On the same day, Vargas directed Quiroz, Chavez and other Latin Kings “enforcers” to increase their efforts to murder leaders of the Latin Dragon gangs in retaliation for the Oct. 2, 2006, murder of Vargas’ younger brother. Months later, the indictment alleges Robles, Salazer, Chavez and another Latin Kings member bet on who would be the first to successfully carry out Vargas’ order to kill a Latin Dragon leader. On Feb. 25, 2007, the indictment alleges that Vargas, Ortiz, Clay, Quiroz and other Latin King members participated in the murder of Latin Dragons leaders James Walsh and Gonzalo Diaz outside of the Soprano’s Bar in Griffith, Ind.
This indictment also alleges that Alex Guerrero and Antonio Martinez, Jr., while employed as officers with the Chicago Police Department, committed armed robberies on behalf of Bernal, while in some instances in uniform and driving Chicago Police Department issued vehicles. The indictment alleges Guerrero and Martinez stole drugs, weapons and cash. In certain instances, Guerrero and Martinez allegedly were given a portion of the funds they stole as payment for committing the armed robberies.
In addition to the alleged acts of violence, the superseding indictment also alleges that the Latin Kings distributed more than 150 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
According to this indictment, the Latin Kings is nationwide gang that originated in Chicago and has branched out throughout the United States, including to Texas. The Latin Kings is a well organized street gang that has specific leadership and is comprised of regions that include multiple chapters.
This case is being investigated by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Immigration and Custom Office of Homeland Security Investigations; the National Gang Targeting, Enforcement & Coordination Center; the National Gang Intelligence Center; the Chicago Police Department; the East Chicago Police Department; the Griffith Police Department; the Hammond Police Department; the Highland Police Department; and the Houston Police Department. The investigation of the Chicago Police Department officers was conducted by Chicago City Public Corruption Task Force, a Chicago Police Department- Internal Affairs and FBI - Chicago law enforcement initiative. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Nozick, and Joseph A. Cooley, Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice - Organized Crime and Gang Section.
The specific sentence in each case to be imposed upon conviction will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an Indictment is merely an allegation and that all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.