CHICAGO — A Chicago man was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on several counts, including racketeering charges for allegedly committing murder to maintain and increase his position in a violent street gang.
The indictment was announced by the following agency heads: U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr., Northern District of Illinois; Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Timothy Jones, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; and Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Department.
Luis Contreras, 39, from Chicago, was indicted on the following charges:
- one count of murder in aid of racketeering
- one count of attempted murder in aid of racketeering
- two counts of illegally possessing multiple firearms and ammunition.
The indictment accuses Contreras of murdering Andre Franzell, 23, on Feb. 18, 2018 in Chicago’s Scottsdale neighborhood, for the purpose of maintaining and increasing Contreras’s position in the Latin Saints street gang.
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 indictment was returned Wednesday in federal court in Chicago. Arraignment has not yet been scheduled.
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.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kavitha Babu and Nicholas J. Eichenseer, Northern District of Illinois, prosecuted this case.