HAMMOND, Ind. – The last of 23 defendants in custody who were charged in a Latin Kings racketeering conspiracy pleaded guilty Thursday.
This guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, and U.S. Attorney David Capp of the Northern District of Indiana.
This case was investigated by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the National Gang Intelligence Center; Chicago Police Department; and the Indiana police departments of East Chicago, Griffith, Highland, Hammond and Houston.
Dante Reyes, 35, a Mexican national, pleaded guilty March 14 to racketeering conspiracy before Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano, Northern District of Indiana.
According to this indictment, Latin Kings is a nationwide gang that originated in Chicago and has branched out throughout the United States, including to Texas. It is a well-organized street gang that has specific leadership and is comprised of regions that include multiple chapters.
The indictments filed in these cases allege that the Latin Kings gang was responsible for at least 19 murders in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana area and Big Spring, Texas.
U.S. Attorney David Capp stated, "The Latin King indictments and the subsequent arrests and guilty pleas by all has had a major, positive impact on the level of violence in our communities. My thanks to all for the tireless efforts by our local and federal law enforcement and our attorneys. We are not finished – we will continue to investigate and prosecute members of organized criminal gangs or those who deal with such individuals."
The following 20 defendants have pleaded guilty in this case:
Antonio Gudino, 31, of East Chicago, Ind.; Sergio Robles, 24, Santiago Gudino, 28, Victor Meza, 24, and Oscar Gonzalez, 23, all of Hammond, Ind.; Alexander Vargas, 35, of Highland, Ind.; Ivan Quiroz, 30, of Posen, Ill.; David Lira, 39, of Lansing, Ill.; and Sisto Bernal, 46, Jose Zambrano, 33, Jason Ortiz, 30, Brandon Clay, 26, Jermaine Ellis, 23, Martin Anaya, 42, Hiluterio Chavez, 37, Emiliano Esparza, 40, Bianca Fernandez, 23, Alex Guerrero, 43, Antonio C. Martinez, Jr., 42, and Gabriel Jalomos, 26, all of Chicago
Also charged, and still at large, is Paulino Salazar, 30, of Chicago.
The following six defendants have been sentenced:
Brandon Clay was sentenced to 30 years, David Lira was sentenced to 15 years, and Antonio Gudino was sentenced to 14 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy.
Victor Meza Jr. was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to possess cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute, and conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
Alex Guerrero was sentenced to 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to possess cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute, and conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana, interference with commerce by threats or violence, and using and carrying a firearm during in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking.
Bianca Fernandez was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering activity.
Joseph A. Cooley of the Criminal Division's Organized Crime and Gang Section, and David J. Nozick of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Indiana, are prosecuting this case.