The Chicago Syndicate: Latin Kings
Showing posts with label Latin Kings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Latin Kings. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Latin King Gang Member Indicted for Murder of Star College Basketball Player

A two-count indictment was unsealed in the United States District Court in Central Islip, New York, charging defendant Jaime Rivera, a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation street gang, with the 2005 murder of C.W. Post student and basketball star Tafare Berryman, as well as a related firearms charge. The defendant was scheduled to be arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke.

The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Thomas Krumpter, Acting Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD).

“Gang violence has taken the lives of too many innocent young people with bright futures,” stated United States Attorney Capers. “This case should serve as a message to all gang members, if you engage in violent gang activity, our law enforcement partners will not stop pursuing you until you are held accountable for your actions.” Mr. Capers expressed his grateful appreciation to the FBI, DEA, and NCPD.

“The mentality that an innocent person is some sort of threat to a gang member or a gang defies logic. A student who was out having a good time, ended up in the middle of a dangerous situation and was killed for absolutely no reason. No one deserves to die because they found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. The FBI Long Island Safe Streets Task Force and our law enforcement partners never gave up and continued to work this case to charge the shooter and now he will be held accountable,” stated Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.

DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt stated, “Our job in law enforcement is to bring criminals to justice. By joining forces with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Nassau County Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, we identified and arrested the person allegedly responsible for murdering Tafare Berryman, who was tragically taken away from his family and friends 12 years ago. Drug-related violence is just one more casualty of drug trafficking that shatters families and ends lives.”

“Today's announcement is the culmination of an extensive investigation that was worked on collaboratively by numerous law enforcement investigative agencies. Protecting the public is our number one priority and today’s indictment of defendant Rivera was of the utmost importance,” stated Acting Commissioner of Police Krumpter.

As detailed in the indictment and the government’s detention letter filed earlier today, on April 2, 2005, Rivera and other Latin King gang members were present at La Mansion bar and nightclub located at 3942 Long Beach Road, N. Long Beach. Also present at the club were numerous C.W. Post students, including Tafare Berryman and some of his friends, who were celebrating the successful presentation of a fashion show that had taken place at Post earlier that evening. At least one incident occurred inside of the club between some gang members and one of the Post students, which later spilled out into a parking lot across from the club.

At approximately 5:00 a.m. on April 3, 2005, Berryman and a friend exited the club and observed several fights occurring in the parking lot. While walking to their car, Berryman’s friend was hit in the head with a bottle causing a laceration. Berryman and his friend then entered a car and drove away. Several blocks from the club, Berryman’s friend, who was driving, pulled the car over to the side of the road to tend to the laceration on his head which was bleeding profusely. At that point, Rivera pulled up alongside of the parked car and shot Berryman once, killing him because Rivera mistakenly believed that Berryman and his friend were involved in the prior altercation in the parking lot and were a threat to the Latin Kings.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Chicago's Summer of Bloodshed 2016 Grows as Politicans Ignore Threat of Gangs

2016 is turning out to be Chicago's Summer of Bloodshed.

272-278 people were murdered during the first six months of this year. Over 1300 people were shot and wounded.

Going into summer, 16 people were killed and 87 wounded this month alone. This week, six people were shot and killed and 87 wounded. It appears the numbers will not abate as the weather heats up.

Most of these murders are directly related to the gang and drug business. Retaliations, competition, and other factors of violence that go hand in hand with organized criminal enterprises.

The gangs are fomenting a guerrilla war on our city. It is a war of violence. murder, and mayhem. The politicians are not concerned about or ignore the scope and power the gangs hold in this city. This war is costing scores of lives, many of them innocent people. It is a war that terrorizes whole neighborhoods.

For too many years, well over a decade, the politicians kept convincing the people of Chicago the gangs are fractured, their leadership either in prison or retired, and there is no real gang structure. The killings are by small "factions" or independents.

Chicago should know better. Chicago politicians are not known for honesty or integrity.

The major gangs are highly organized and structured. Why else would gang members young and old, show up at a murder trial of fellow Latin Kings wearing their colors?

"The courtroom was full of Latin Kings wearing gold jerseys, and family members and other friends, old Kings, young Kings, future Kings. They were angry. They smirked. First they murmured, then they got louder." (John Kass/Chicago Tribune)

It appears the Latin Kings are telling Chicago, the police, courts, and public, "We are here, we are here to stay, there is nothing you can do about it."

This is in your face public relations.

Need further proof? The Outlaws, one of the most notorious criminal motorcycle gangs, boldly put their South Side headquarters on the corner of 25th and Rockwell. There is what appears to be a bullet proof barrier protecting the entryway and a steel clad door behind it. Federal authorities claim the Outlaws are major meth manufacturers and distributors. They are also known for violence, mayhem, and murder.

Make no mistake. Chicago gangs are organized, structured, and are responsible for the murderous chaos in various neighborhoods. The politicians refuse to acknowledge it or let the police crack down.

The violence problem is not going to get solved by treating gangs as if they do not exist. It is not going to abate by believing the gangs are fractured and the violence is caused by independents and wannabes.

Gangs are criminal organizations. They are not social clubs or neighborhood protection organizations. They are not a social science phenomena, as academics would have us believe. Gangs are organized crime groups. Their only purpose and reason for existence is crime. Crime is their business. In some areas, crime is the only economy.

All members of gangs are criminals. Gang members have no positive social redeeming values. They are a detriment to society. They are the enemy within, a cancer on our city.

Traditional organized crime, which ruled this city for decades, is a mere shadow of its former self. Yet, they are still monitored for criminal activity. Over one thousand murders are attributed to the Outfit, from the Capone era to the present. Few, if any, were innocent victims.

We do not know if anyone is closely monitoring Chicago's street gangs. We only know what the politicians want us to know. Next to nothing.

For some inexplicable reason, the gangs are not considered to be as dangerous to society as the Chicago Outfit. They are not treated as organized criminal enterprises to be destroyed. Yet, day after day, week after week, month after month, the death toll rises.

Politics plays an important role in crime. The gang organizations have been left alone for way too long. The "reasons" are too many to list. They all boil down to the same things, cowardice and corruption.

City Hall and the County Building are dens of cowards. The politicians fear being labeled racist. Many enable the gangs and benefit by their existence. They are associates of organized crime.

If the politicians will not allow law enforcement to expose the gang leadership, structure, and membership, then it is time for some other organization to do it.

The Chicago Crime Commission is toothless. They tout the same lame excuses as the politicians. Former Mayor Daley pulled out their teeth and claws when they were about to expose organized crime's incestuous relationship with Chicago politicians. From then on, the CCC has been an unreliable and sometimes laughable source on organized criminal enterprises in Chicago. They, like the politicians, refuse to fight the good fight. They keep trying to justify deserving their grant money and other donations.

Something new and courageous is needed to get information to the people. To expose the gangs, their associates and enablers, and their structure and leadership. Make no mistake. All the illicit money generated is going to the top. There needs to be a structure for that.

A new organization is needed to investigate, expose, and report on these organized criminal enterprises, their associates, and enablers. It needs to be funded properly and privately. No government grants. Those are controlled by the very politicians whose heads are in the sand.

There are enough well meaning, civic minded, wealthy people in Chicago who could fund an intelligence, organized crime research, and reporting organization. It would need to be a hybrid group of former law enforcement, prosecutors, and journalists. A Better Government Association on steroids. A group that would be fearless, dauntless, and bold. As bold as the Outlaws, whose club is proudly festooned in one of Chicago's gang infested areas.

Chicago's millionaires, billionaires, major businesses, and financial sectors finance a host of organizations. The arts, architectural preservation, parks and recreation, programs for youth, museums, and other civic and cultural groups. It is time they focused on law and order.

All the great things about Chicago are tarnished by the daily murder, mayhem, and bloodshed on the streets. If the politicians will not do their jobs or let the police do theirs, then it is time for others to take up the mantle. With enough publicity and exposure of organized criminal enterprises, the politicians will have no choice. They will have to act. Swiftly and harshly.

Chicago is becoming the laughing stock of the nation. There is no reason for this.

It is time for good people to do something. If it means embarrassing the politicians, so be it.

The next innocent victim could be your child.

Thanks to Peter Bella.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Imperial Gangster Leader Convicted in 5 Murders, 1 Attempted Murder and Other Gang-Related Crimes

A leader of the Imperial Gangsters street gang was convicted by a federal jury in the Northern District of Indiana of five counts of murder in aid of racketeering, one count of attempted murder in aid of racketeering, one firearms count related to the attempted murder, one count of engaging in a RICO conspiracy, one count of engaging in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics, and related offenses.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David A. Capp of the Northern District of Indiana made the announcement.

Juan Briseno aka “Tito”, 25, of Hammond, Indiana, was part of a 24-defendant indictment alleging that members of the Imperial Gangsters committed 13 homicides in East Chicago, Hammond and Gary, Indiana. The indictment also charged a decade-long racketeering conspiracy that involved 19 additional attempted murders and the large scale distribution of cocaine and marijuana. Sentencing is scheduled for June 15, before Chief Judge Philip P. Simon of the Northern District of Indiana.

According to evidence presented at trial, the Imperial Gangsters had a standing rule to shoot on sight any rival gang member. They also had a policy to shoot anyone selling drugs in their neighborhood without their permission. Briseno was convicted of five murders, which the evidence demonstrated were committed pursuant to the gang’s policies and in furtherance of the 149th Street Imperial Gangsters, a violent clique of the Imperial Gangsters based in East Chicago.

The evidence further demonstrated that Briseno exercised a leadership role in the gang, in which he supervised the “shorties, or prospective members of the 149th Street Imperial Gangsters. Briseno expressed no remorse for his participation in various murders, and indeed bragged about killings and encouraged others to do the same.

With regard to the specific murders, the evidence at trial demonstrated that Briseno knocked on Luis Ortiz’s apartment door in Hammond, Indiana, on Sept. 26, 2007, and shot him dead in the doorway to the apartment. Briseno targeted Ortiz because he was a member of the rival Latin King Street Gang.

Additionally, the evidence demonstrated that Briseno committed the double murder of Miguel Mejias, a Latin King living in Imperial Gangster territory, and Michael Sessum, an associate of Mejias, while they were unarmed and bringing takeout food to their pregnant girlfriends on June 3, 2008. During that murder, multiple shots fired by Briseno entered Mejias’ residence, striking a female victim in the arm while she was holding her infant child. Another pregnant female victim and multiple minor victims were also in the apartment at the time of the shooting. According to testimony at trial, Mejias implored another individual to tell Briseno that he was no longer “gangbanging” and did not want any trouble. In response to this message, Briseno said, “[explecetive] him, he was going to bring [Latin] Kings into our neighborhood.”

The evidence at trial also demonstrated that Briseno and his associates murdered rival Two-Six gang member, Miguel Colon, on Feb. 7, 2010, as Colon came out of a party. In this incident, Briseno and Colon exchanged gunfire, endangering numerous innocent individuals who were in the vicinity.

Finally, the evidence at trial demonstrated that Briseno murdered Latroy Howard on June 19, 2010, for selling drugs in an Imperial Gangster-controlled neighborhood without the permission of the gang. A video introduced at trial showed Briseno circling the block in his car and then walking up on foot and shooting the unarmed Howard twice in the head at point-blank range.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Latin Kings’ Leader of Little Village, Juan Amaya, Region Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for RICO Conspiracy and Related Gang Crimes

A high-ranking leader of the Latin Kings street gang was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison after being convicted of racketeering conspiracy and related charges involving narcotics trafficking and violence that plagued the Little Village neighborhood on the city’s west side. The defendant, JUAN AMAYA, 38, was convicted by a jury in March of this year after a trial in U.S. District Court.

In 2008, Amaya was the leader, or “Regional Inca,” of the Almighty Latin King Nation’s 26th Street Region, encompassing Little Village, the gang’s most important stronghold. Amaya was “in charge of over 1,000 soldiers ― many of whom were simply boys sent off to kill or be killed” under rules and policies he oversaw, the government argued in seeking a sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment.

Amaya was held responsible for participating in a conspiracy to commit murder, according to findings by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, who imposed the sentence in Federal Court. Amaya must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence.

Last week, Nedal Issa, who was the Inca of the Latin Kings’ Cicero Section of the 26th Street Region and who pleaded guilty, cooperated, and testified as a government witness, was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle. Amaya’s sentencing marks the last significant event in cases since 2008 that resulted in federal convictions of, and lengthy sentences for, Augustin Zambrano, the Latin Kings’ leader or “Corona;” Vicente Garcia, the gang’s “Supreme Regional Inca;” Fernando King, who preceded Garcia as second-incommand; and more than two dozen other top-ranking leaders.

“These sentences hold these defendants accountable for the barbaric enterprise known as the Latin Kings and for their roles in murder, attempted murder, shootings, beatings, drug trafficking, and other crimes,” said Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. “I want to thank our local, state and federal law enforcement partners for their brave and outstanding work resulting in a major impact on this gang enterprise,” Mr. Fardon added.

The evidence at Amaya’s trial showed that by 2008, just a couple of years after he was released on parole from a 24-year sentence for a 1992 murder conviction, Amaya was promoted to Regional Inca of the Little Village Region, reporting only to Garcia and Zambrano and effectively running the gang at their behest. During his tenure, Amaya discussed 25 shootings committed by his underlings while expressing pride at the consistency of violence. All told, hundreds of shootings resulting from Latin Kings conduct occurred in Little Village during the period of Amaya’s prominence, according to the government.

Amaya was indicted separately in 2012 following the 2008 and 2009 indictments of more than 30 top leaders of the Latin Kings. All have been convicted and sentenced except for a few defendants who remain fugitives. From its origin and base in the west side Little Village neighborhood, the Latin Kings spread throughout Chicago and Illinois and established branches in other states, where local leaders acted with some autonomy but adhered to the rules and hierarchy of the Chicago gang, according to trial evidence and court records.

The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Carl Vasilko, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Chicago Police Department, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago, and the Cook County Sheriff’s Police also had significant roles in the investigation, which was conducted through the federal High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

In late 2006, ATF agents led an investigation that resulted in federal drug trafficking and firearms charges against 38 Latin Kings members and associates. In 2008, the FBI led an investigation that resulted in state and federal charges against 40 Latin Kings members and associates, including Zambrano and numerous co-defendants. In total, nearly 100 Latin Kings members and associates have faced state or federal charges since 2006. The convictions resulted from a sustained, coordinated effort by federal law enforcement agencies, working together with the Chicago Police Department and other state and local partners, to dismantle the hierarchy of the Latin Kings and other highly-organized, often violent Chicago street gangs.

Zambrano was the highest-ranking Latin King to be convicted and sentenced since Gustavo “Gino” Colon, who also holds the title of “Corona,” was sentenced to life in prison in 2000.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

638 gang members arrested during #ProjectSouthBound Operation

More than 600 gang members and associates from 145 different gangs were arrested in 179 cities across the U.S. during Project Southbound, a month-long operation executed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which targeted gangs affiliated with the Sureños.

The Sureños, also known as Sur 13, is a transnational criminal street gang that originated in Southern California with hundreds of cliques around the United States. The Sureños and their affiliates pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia and the number “13” is their symbol signifying “M” in the alphabet for Mexican Mafia. Membership and cliques associated with the Sureños are expanding faster than any other national-level gang in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Gang Intelligence Center’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. Sureños gang members are involved in a myriad of criminal activity, including murder, extortion, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution and other crimes with a nexus to the border.

Through Project Southbound, which ran March 12 to April 13, HSI special agents worked with 150 federal, state and local law enforcement partners to apprehend individuals from various gangs affiliated with the Sureños. More than 73 percent of those arrested during this HSI National Gang Unit-led operation were members or associates of the Sureños.

In addition to the 638 gang members and associates, HSI agents also arrested – or assisted in the arrest of – 119 other individuals on federal and/or state criminal violations and administrative immigration violations, for a total of 757 arrests.

“Project Southbound is the largest-ever ICE operation targeting the Sureños gang,” said ICE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas S. Winkowski. “This gang now has more than 30,000 members in the United States and its numbers are growing. Targeting transnational gangs like the Sureños is a top priority for ICE and we will continue to disrupt and dismantle the violence and criminal activities that they inflict upon our neighborhoods.”

Of the 638 gang members or associates arrested: 525 were charged with criminal offenses; 113 were arrested administratively for immigration violations; 414 had violent criminal histories, including seven individuals wanted for murder and five wanted for rape or sexual assault; and 256 were foreign nationals.

Among the Sureños gang members or associates arrested during Project Southbound were:


  • Cesar Lisandro Anaya, 27, an El Salvadoran national and an 18th Street gang member, arrested in Dallas, Texas, on immigration-related charges. He is wanted in El Salvador on felony warrants for aggravated homicide, extortion, and illicit groupings (gang activity). 
  • Nine MS-13 gang members arrested on RICO charges filed in the District of Maryland stemming from their involvement in multiple criminal acts including murder, assault, extortion and prostitution, in furtherance of MS-13.
  • Richard Allen Cotinola, a U.S. citizen and Brewtown Locos gang member, arrested in New Mexico on an outstanding state warrant for violation of parole related to a previous conviction for aggravated burglary with a weapon. He has previous convictions for aggravated burglary with a weapon and armed robbery.
  • A father and son arrested in San Francisco on state narcotics and firearms charges following the execution of state search warrants on the father’s property. The father, a Sureños gang associate and previously deported aggravated felon, accused of supplying large quantities of high-quality, commercially-grown marijuana to Sureños and Latin Kings gang members. During these arrests, HSI agents seized 4,669 marijuana plants, 25 pounds of processed marijuana, an AR-15 rifle, a stolen Glock handgun, four diesel generators, four vehicles and $85,635 in cash.   


Those arrested during Project Southbound came from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Of the total 757 arrested, 678 were males and 79 were females.

HSI special agents also seized 54 firearms, 13.36 pounds of methamphetamine, 82.76 pounds of marijuana, 3.075 pounds of cocaine, 1.44 pounds of heroin, more than $166,000 in U.S currency and 10 vehicles during Project Southbound.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Alleged #MagnoliaStreetSteelers Gang Member Arrested for Drug Trafficking #OperationWhiplash

A Lynn man who is allegedly a member of the Magnolia Street Steelers gang was arrested for drug trafficking in North Andover. The arrest marks the 44th individual charged in the multi-phase investigation dubbed Operation Whiplash.

On September 25, 2013, Tyrone Shepherd, a/k/a Pooh, 30, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and four counts of distribution of cocaine base. Operation Whiplash was a wide-ranging FBI Gang Task Force investigation of several gangs in and around Lynn and Revere. Operation Whiplash is the successor investigation to Operation Melting Pot which, in 2010, resulted in 62 Lynn gang leaders, members, and associates of the Avenue King Crips, Bloods, Gangsta Disciples, Deuce Boyz/Soldiers, and Latin Kings being charged in federal and state court. More than 40 guns were seized.

The goal of Operation Whiplash was to target the gangs and gang members who remained in and around Lynn, before they were able to fully reconstitute and seize power in the vacuum created by Operation Melting Pot. Operation Whiplash has resulted in state and federal charges against 44 leaders, members, and associates of the Money Over Broken Bitches (M.O.B.B.) street gang in Lynn, the Bloods in Revere, and other gangs. These individuals, including 27 federal defendants, face drug, firearms, and witness tampering charges. Operation Whiplash also resulted in the seizure of 16 firearms.

According to the detention affidavit filed today, Shepherd is a member of the MIC (Magnolia, Intervale, and Columbia) Street Gang, also known as the Magnolia Street Steelers. Shepherd has a tattoo of the insignia of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is also a symbol of the gang. On September 25, 2013, the FBI issued an arrest warrant and offered a reward of $5,000 for information leading directly to his arrest.

If convicted, Shepherd faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison; a mandatory minimum term of four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release; and a $5 million fine on the charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base. If convicted on the charge of distribution of cocaine base, Shepherd faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a mandatory minimum term of three years, and up to a lifetime of supervised release; and a $1 million fine.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Founder & Leader of #LatinKings Sentenced to Life + 85 Years in Prison for #Murder #Racketeering #DrugDistribution + Other Crimes

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that WILSON PAGAN, 27, the founder and top leader of the Latin Kings gang in Newburgh, New York (the Newburgh Latin Kings), was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains federal court to life plus 85 years in prison. PAGAN was convicted of murder; racketeering; conspiracy to distribute crack, cocaine, and heroin; assault; and using and carrying firearms in connection with violent crimes. PAGAN is one of 35 members and associates of the gang who were charged in the case, all of whom have been convicted, 28 of whom have thus far been sentenced.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Mr. Pagan was a gang leader, and what he led his followers to was a gang member’s life filled with death, blood, guns, drugs, and jail—and for him the gangster life in the street has become the inmate’s life in prison, forever. Gang leaders, members, associates, and wannabes in Newburgh and throughout the Hudson Valley need to understand—we will not tolerate gang violence. You will go to prison for it, potentially for the rest of your life.”

According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial:

PAGAN founded the Newburgh Latin Kings, and grew the gang from roughly a dozen members in 2008 to more than 50 members and associates by early 2010. On May 6, 2008, PAGAN ordered aspiring gang members to go on a so-called mission, during which they committed a drive-by shooting and killed, mistakenly, Jeffrey Zachary, a 15-year old boy who was an innocent bystander. PAGAN sold crack and heroin and helped other members and associates of his gang sell drugs, including at spots the Latin Kings controlled, such as the corner of Benkard Avenue and William Street in Newburgh. PAGAN also assaulted rivals of his gang and carried guns and instructed others to carry guns to protect PAGAN and the Newburgh Latin Kings’ drug turf. In leading the gang, PAGAN recruited and inducted new members, instructed the members how to behave in order to protect and conceal the gang’s criminal activities, and issued orders to gang members to shoot and assault others. PAGAN organized and led gang meetings for this purpose. During one such meeting, according to papers filed with the court, PAGAN told more than 20 assembled gang members: “[W]e don’t even live by rules of society... .”

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; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 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 Kurland, and Nicholas McQuaid are in charge of the prosecution.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Vicente Garcia Jr., Latin Kings’ Second-in-Command, Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for RICO Conspiracy and Related Gang Crimes


The second highest-ranking leader nationwide of the Latin Kings street gang was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison after being convicted at trial in 2011 of racketeering conspiracy (RICO) and related charges involving narcotics trafficking and violence that plagued numerous neighborhoods on the city’s north, south, and west sides. The defendant, Vicente Garcia, Jr., 35, the “Supreme Regional Inca” of the Almighty Latin King Nation, who oversaw the day-to-day illegal activities of all factions of the gang with some 10,000 members in Illinois alone, has been in federal custody since late 2008 and must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

The sentence was imposed last week by U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle, who also ordered five years of supervised release after Garcia’s prison term ends.

Garcia, also known as “DK” or “Disciple Killer,” together with Augustin Zambrano, the leader, or “Corona,” of the Latin Kings, and two additional defendants were found guilty in April 2011 of running a criminal enterprise to enrich themselves and others through drug trafficking and preserving and protecting their power, territory, and revenue through acts of murder, attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, extortion, and other acts of violence.

“This sentence holds Garcia accountable for the barbaric enterprise known as the Latin Kings and his role in murder, attempted murder, shootings, beatings, drug trafficking, and other crimes,” said Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Zambrano, 52, was sentenced to 60 years in prison in January 2012. Two other co-defendants convicted at the same trial also received substantial prison terms. Jose Guzman, a former “Nation Enforcer” in the 26th Street, or Little Village, faction, was sentenced to 35 years in prison, and Alphonso Chavez, the “Inca,” or leader of the gang’s 31st and Drake faction, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Another co-defendant, Fernando “Ace” King, who preceded Garcia as Supreme Regional Inca and pleaded guilty, was sentenced in October 2011 to 40 years in prison.

Trial evidence included audio and video recordings of three beatings inflicted upon gang members for violating the rules and testimony documenting three murders and 20 shootings in the Little Village area. In addition to RICO conspiracy, Garcia was convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon and using a firearm during a violent crime.

Garcia was among a total of 31 co-defendants who were indicted in September 2008 or charged in a superseding indictment in October 2009. Of those 31 defendants, 24 pleaded guilty, four were convicted at trial, and three remain fugitives. From its origin and base in the west side Little Village community, the Latin Kings spread throughout Chicago and Illinois and established branches in other states, where local leaders acted with some autonomy but adhered to the rules and hierarchy of the Chicago gang, according to the evidence in the five-week federal trial.

The sentence was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, together with Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Larry Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The Chicago Police Department, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago, and the Cook County Sheriff’s Police also had significant roles in the investigation, which was conducted through the federal High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

In late 2006, ATF agents led an investigation that resulted in federal drug trafficking and firearms charges against 38 Latin Kings members and associates. In 2008, the FBI led an investigation that resulted in state and federal charges against 40 Latin Kings members and associates, including a dozen of the Zambrano co-defendants. In total, more than 80 Latin Kings members and associates have faced state or federal charges since 2006. The convictions result from a sustained, coordinated effort by federal law enforcement agencies, working together with the Chicago Police Department and other state and local partners, to dismantle the hierarchy of the Latin Kings and other highly organized, often violent Chicago street gangs.

Garcia and Zambrano were the highest-ranking Latin Kings to be convicted and sentenced since Gustavo “Gino” Colon, who also holds the title of “Corona,” was sentenced to life in prison in 2000.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Porter, Nancy DePodesta, and Tinos Diamantatos.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Latin Kings Sued by Kane County


The Kane County state’s attorney’s office has filed a lawsuit against 35 members of the Latin Kings who reside in Aurora, seeking to hold gang members accountable for past violence and give police another tool against organized crime.

After the lawsuit was filed Thursday, Aurora police officers and Kane County sheriff’s deputies began serving defendants with the suit and a summons to appear July 10 before Judge Thomas Mueller.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent the defendants from loitering together in public, possessing weapons or drugs, vandalizing surfaces with graffiti, showing gang signs, wearing gang colors or even being present in certain parts of town. Once the lawsuit becomes a verified complaint, if police find a gang member violating its terms, they can take action. “We expect that this injunction will significantly diminish the gang’s criminal activity by stopping the Latin Kings’ ability to freely operate within the Aurora community,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said.

McMahon called the gang members targeted in the suit “the worst of the worst in Aurora.” A list of their previous convictions for crimes such as first-degree murder, unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, mob action and aggravated discharge of a firearm takes up 12 pages of the 18-page lawsuit.

Aurora police Chief Greg Thomas said violent crime in Aurora has decreased since its peak in 1996, when there were 357 reports of shots fired and 26 murders. By 2011 those numbers dropped to 60 instances of shots fired and two murders, but Thomas said work remains to be done. “When these violent crimes are reduced, police have more time to devote to other crimes like burglaries and theft,” he said.

Targeting gang members through the civil suit will help the city move further away from its previous image as an unsafe place, Mayor Tom Weisner said. “The initiative announced today is another tool our police officers can use to help ensure the city is safe from the violence of street gangs,” Weisner said.

Ross Bartolotta, a special assistant state’s attorney hired with $60,000 in federal grant money, spent several months researching gang members’ history of criminal activity to determine whom to sue first.

If defendants or their lawyers show up to their court dates, each case will go through a discovery process and trial to determine if the defendant will be prohibited from associating with other gang members. If a defendant doesn’t show up, McMahon said the gang member automatically will be held to the regulations of the injunction.

Violating the injunction could result in contempt of court or a misdemeanor charge punishable with up to a year in county jail and up to $2,500 in fines.

The lawsuit filed against Latin Kings members residing in Aurora isn’t the first of its kind. Kane County sued about 80 members of the Latin Kings in Elgin in 2010, and the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office has sued gang members four times since 1999, targeting groups that operated in Addison, Glendale Heights and West Chicago. “We did this again here in Kane County for one reason: We have a responsibility to take whatever lawful action we can to make this community safer,” McMahon said. “This lawsuit, which is a proven proactive tool, is another step in that direction.”

Thanks to Marie Wilson.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Augustin Zambrano, Nationwide Latin Kings Leader, Sentenced to 60 Years in Prison for RICO Conspiracy and Related Gang Crimes

The highest-ranking leader nationwide of the Latin Kings street gang was sentenced yesterday to 60 years in federal prison, the statutory maximum, after being convicted at trial last April of racketeering conspiracy (RICO) and related charges involving narcotics trafficking and violence that plagued numerous neighborhoods on the city’s north, south and west sides.. The defendant, Augustin Zambrano, 51, a “Corona” of the Almighty Latin King Nation, who was responsible for overseeing the illegal activities of all factions of the powerful street gang with some 10,000 members in Illinois alone, has been in federal custody since 2009 and must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle cited Zambrano’s extensive criminal record of violent offenses and his lack whatsoever of any acceptance of responsibility or remorse for victims.

Zambrano, also known as “Big Tino,” “Tino,” “Old Man,” and “Viejo,” and three co-defendants were found guilty of running a criminal enterprise to enrich themselves and others through drug-trafficking and preserving and protecting their power, territory and revenue through acts of murder, attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, extortion, and other acts of violence.

“This investigation has held to hold the leaders of the Latin Kings like Zambrano responsible for their iron-fisted leadership of a criminal enterprise responsible for murders and attempted murders. As the CEO of this gang, Zambrano bears responsibility for its criminal acts,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

In urging the maximum sentence, prosecutors wrote in a court filing:

“Zambrano chose violence at every turn. The message he sent out through his words and actions was that violence was the only path that mattered. He did so personally and through his appointment of trusted lieutenants such as Fernando King and Vicente Garcia, who were responsible through their stewardship for murder, attempted murder, shootings, beatings, and other acts of violence. Zambrano did not carry out any of this violence by himself. He was insulated. He was behind the scenes. He entrusted others to do it. He put leaders in place who shared his vision . . . to see to it that that Latin Kings acted barbarically. The result was an organization with its own rules, its own laws, and a savage code of violence. In many cases, the soldiers for whom defendant and the other leaders of the Latin Kings are responsible were simply boys who killed or were killed.”

Three co-defendants were convicted with Zambrano at trial of RICO conspiracy and other crimes. Jose Guzman, a former “Nation Enforcer” in the 26th Street, or Little Village, faction, was sentenced last month to 35 years in prison. Awaiting sentencing are Vicente Garcia, the “Supreme Regional Inca,” who was in charge of all Latin Kings in Illinois, and Alphonso Chavez, the “Inca,” or leader of the gang’s 31st and Drake faction. Fernando “Ace” King, who preceded Garcia as Supreme Regional Inca and pleaded guilty, was sentenced last October to 40 years in prison.

Evidence at trial included audio and video recordings of three beatings inflicted upon gang members for violating the rules and testimony documenting 20 shootings in the Little Village area, including at least one in which the victim died. Zambrano and Garcia were both convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon.

The four trial defendants were among a total of 31 co-defendants who were indicted in September 2008 or charged in a superseding indictment in October 2009. Of those 31 defendants, 24 pleaded guilty, four were convicted at trial, and three remain fugitives. From its origin and base in the west side Little Village community, the Latin Kings spread throughout Chicago and Illinois and established branches in other states, where local leaders acted with some autonomy but adhered to the rules and hierarchy of the Chicago gang, according to the evidence in the five-week federal trial.

The RICO conspiracy count included evidence that Zambrano and several co-defendants conspired to demand and receive payment from an organization illegally selling fraudulent immigration documents in Little Village by threatening, and actually engaging in, the use of force and violence against members of that organization unless the defendants received regular cash payments. Trial evidence proved federal charges that Latin Kings leaders extorted “street tax” from non-gang members, referred to as “miqueros,” who sold false identification documents.

As part of the RICO conspiracy, evidence also showed that defendants kept victims in fear of the gang and its leaders by enforcing what it referred to as an “SOS”—shoot on sight or smash on sight—order against Latin King members who cooperated with law enforcement in order to enforce the gang’s grip on the community and control over its members and associates.

Mr. Fitzgerald announced the sentence with Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Andrew L. Traver, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Chicago Police Department, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago, and the Cook County Sheriff’s Police also had significant roles in the investigation, which was conducted through the federal High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

The convictions resulted from sustained, coordinated investigations by multiple federal law enforcement agencies, working together with the Chicago Police Department and other state and local partners, to dismantle the hierarchy of the Latin Kings and other highly-organized, often violent, drug-trafficking Chicago street gangs. In late 2006, ATF agents led an investigation that resulted in federal drug trafficking and firearms charges against 38 Latin Kings members and associates. In 2008, the FBI led an investigation that resulted in state and federal charges against 40 Latin Kings members and associates, including a dozen of the Zambrano co-defendants. In total, more than 80 Latin Kings members and associates have faced state or federal charges since 2006 and, of those, approximately 65 have been convicted federally, with only a few fugitives still facing federal charges.

Zambrano is the highest-ranking leader of the Latin Kings to be convicted since Gustavo “Gino” Colon, who also holds the title of “Corona” and is serving a life sentence that was imposed in 2000 for running a continuing criminal enterprise

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Porter, Nancy DePodesta and Tinos Diamantatos.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Antonio C. Martinez Jr. Pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Related Charges for Involvement with Latin Kings Gang

Antonio C. Martinez Jr., 40, a former Chicago police officer, pleaded guilty today to racketeering conspiracy and related charges, announced 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.

Martinez pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano to conspiracy to commit racketeering activity; conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana; robbery; and using a firearm while committing these federal crimes. Martinez was charged, along with 14 additional defendants, in a third superseding indictment unsealed on Nov. 18, 2011. To date, 21 individuals, including Martinez, have been charged for crimes related to their membership or association with the Almighty Latin Kings and Queen Nation (Latin Kings) gang.

Martinez admitted that he committed a series of robberies from 2004 to 2006 at the direction of the Latin Kings, using his position as a Chicago police officer to facilitate the robberies. Martinez admitted that he was wearing his Chicago Police Department badge and department-issued weapon when he committed the robberies, which included those of drug traffickers in Rockford, Ill.; Chicago; and East Chicago, Ind. In one instance, Martinez admitted to participating in the armed robbery at the home of a deceased Latin Dragon gang leader in Hammond, Ind. In addition, Martinez admitted that he picked up and delivered packages of cocaine on multiple occasions for two Latin Kings leaders.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 14, 2012. At sentencing, Martinez faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The investigation of Martinez was conducted by the Chicago City Public Corruption Task Force, a Chicago Police Department-Internal Affairs and FBI Chicago law enforcement initiative. The investigation of the remaining defendants was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; FBI; 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, Ind., Police Department; the Hammond Police Department; the Highland, Ind., Police Department; and the Houston Police Department.

The cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Joseph A. Cooley of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Nozick of the Northern District of Indiana.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Latin King Leader, Augustin Zambrano, Convicted on RICO Charges

A federal jury on April 6th convicted the highest-ranking leader nationwide and three other high-ranking leaders of the Latin Kings street gang of racketeering conspiracy (RICO) and all other charges against them involving narcotics trafficking and related violence that plagued numerous neighborhoods on the city's north, south and west sides. From its origin and base in the west side Little Village community, the Latin Kings spread throughout Chicago and Illinois and established branches in other states, where local leaders acted with some autonomy but adhered to the rules and hierarchy of the Chicago gang, according to the evidence in the six-week federal trial. Among the defendants convicted was Augustin Zambrano, 51, identified at trial as the "Corona," making him the highest-ranking leader nationwide of the Almighty Latin King Nation and responsible for overseeing the illegal activities of all factions of the powerful street gang, which evidence showed has approximately 10,000 members in Illinois alone. Zambrano, also known as "Big Tino," "Tino," "Old Man," and "Viejo," and three co-defendants were found guilty of running a criminal enterprise to enrich themselves and others through drug-trafficking and preserving and protecting their power, territory and revenue through acts of murder, attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, extortion, and other acts of violence.

Zambrano is the highest-ranking leader of the Latin Kings to be convicted since Gustavo "Gino" Colon, who also holds the title of "Corona" and is serving a life sentence that was imposed in 2000 for running a continuing criminal enterprise.

All four trial defendants remain in federal custody and face potentially lengthy prison terms without parole. U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle scheduled sentencing for Zambrano on Aug. 23, and set sentencing for the other three defendants Aug. 24-26.

Also convicted of RICO conspiracy and other crimes were: Vicente Garcia, 33, identified at trial as the "Supreme Regional Inca," who was in charge of all Latin Kings in Illinois; Jose Guzman, 34, identified at trial as a former "Nation Enforcer" in the 26th Street, or Little Village, faction; and Alphonso Chavez, 26, identified at trial as the "Inca," or leader of the gang's 31st and Drake faction.

"This verdict inflicts a serious blow to the to leaders of the Latin Kings," said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. "It demonstrates that the combined and coordinated efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement can assemble cases looking at disparate crimes—such as selling false identification documents in Little Village—and tie them all the way back to the gang leaders responsible for a broad array of criminal conduct.

Evidence at trial included audio and video recordings of three beatings inflicted upon gang members for violating the rules and testimony documenting 20 shootings in the Little Village area, including at least one in which the victim died. Zambrano and Garcia were both convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon.

The four trial defendants were among a total of 31 co-defendants who were indicted in September 2008 or charged in a superseding indictment in October 2009. Of those 31 defendants, 24 pleaded guilty, four were convicted at trial, and three remain fugitives. Three of the defendants who pleaded guilty testified as government witness at the trial.

The RICO conspiracy count included evidence that Zambrano and several co-defendants conspired to demand and receive payment from an organization illegally selling fraudulent immigration documents in Little Village by threatening, and actually engaging in, the use of force and violence against members of that organization unless the defendants received regular cash payments. Trial evidence proved federal charges that Latin Kings leaders extorted "street tax" from non-gang members, referred to as "miqueros," who sold false identification documents.

As part of the RICO conspiracy, evidence also showed that defendants kept victims in fear of the gang and its leaders by enforcing what it referred to as an "SOS"—shoot on sight or smash on sight—order against Latin King members who cooperated with law enforcement in order to enforce the gang's grip on the community and control over its members and associates.

Mr. Fitzgerald announced the verdict with Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Andrew L. Traver, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Chicago Police Department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago, also had significant roles in the investigation, which was conducted through the federal High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

The trial and earlier guilty pleas showed that many of the defendants were leaders of the 24 sections that comprised the 26th Street Region in Little Village, who conspired in late 2007 to sell powder cocaine twice a month to fund the "Nation Box," a kitty that the regional hierarchy used to purchase weapons and ammunition, and pay for funeral and attorney fees for fellow gang members. Located along 26th Street, a main east-west thoroughfare, the region is bounded roughly by Fairfield Avenue (east) to Millard Avenue (west), and 21st Street (north) to 33rd Street (south). The region's 24 sections are typically named after a street or intersection, with each section having its own leadership and "soldiers," ranging between approximately 20 and 100 gang members.

The RICO conspiracy count encompassed a pattern of illegal activity since 2000, including drug trafficking, extortion, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, murder, attempted murder, and solicitation to commit murder, and intimidation. Evidence of the RICO conspiracy also included proof that the defendants and their associates:

  • conducted the gang's affairs through a series of laws and policies, some of which were codified in a "constitution," as well as a "manifesto," and the "26th Street rules." The laws included a three-page list of 25 rules establishing procedures for homicides, "security," and the sale of counterfeit identification documents;
  • attended regular meetings, known as "demos"—or, when held by Nation officers, "Nation demos"—at which they discussed, planned, and otherwise engaged in criminal activity, including violent crimes, narcotics distribution, and obstruction of justice;
  • initiated members by causing them to endure physical assaults conducted by other members at various gang-related gatherings; and
  • managed the procurement, transfer, use, concealment, and disposal of firearms and dangerous weapons to protect gang-related territory, personnel, and operations, and to deter, eliminate, and retaliate against competitors and other rival gangs and individuals.

The convictions resulted from sustained, coordinated investigations by multiple federal law enforcement agencies, working together with the Chicago Police Department and other state and local partners, to dismantle the hierarchy of the Latin Kings and other highly-organized, often violent, drug-trafficking Chicago street gangs. In late 2006, ATF agents led an investigation that resulted in federal drug trafficking and firearms charges against 38 Latin Kings members and associates. In 2008, the FBI led an investigation that resulted in state and federal charges against 40 Latin Kings members and associates, including a dozen of the Zambrano co-defendants. In total, more than 80 Latin Kings members and associates have faced state or federal charges since 2006 and, of those, approximately 65 have been convicted federally, with only a few fugitives still facing federal charges.

The RICO conspiracy, extortion conspiracy, and assault with a dangerous weapon counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Garcia was convicted of using a firearm during a violent crime, which carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison to a maximum of life. The various narcotics counts carry sentences ranging from a mandatory minimum five years to a maximum of life and a fine up to $4 million. The Court must impose a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Porter, Nancy DePodesta and Tinos Diamantatos.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gangster Take Down - 78 Bloods & Latin Kings Indicted

In the pre-dawn chill of upstate New York, nearly 600 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers assembled at the armory to prepare for one of the area's largest gang takedowns in recent memory.

Indictments were unsealed against 78 members of two violent street gangs—the Bloods and the Latin Kings—and many of the unsuspecting gang members were about to wake up to SWAT teams, handcuffs, and a variety of federal drug charges.

“There are a number of neighborhood gangs in Newburgh, but these two national gangs are responsible for much of the drugs and crime in the city,” said Special Agent Jim Gagliano, who headed a 16-month, FBI-led Safe Streets Task Force investigation that culminated in this morning’s raids.

“Today’s arrests will severely disrupt and dismantle both organizations in Newburgh,” Gagliano said. “We are taking most of the local leaders of the Bloods and the Latin Kings off the streets. Some of them will likely be put away for so long they will never return to the city.”

Newburgh is located about 70 miles north of Manhattan. For a relatively small city of 29,000 people, it has an unusually large crime problem. When Gagliano arrived there two years ago, Newburgh led the state in per capita homicides, and everyone agreed that drug-related gang violence was at the root of the problem.

The Bureau established the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force in April 2009—which now consists of about 20 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies—and began dual investigations on the two gangs, dubbed Operation Blood Drive and Operation Black Crown. The plan was for the task force’s cooperating witnesses and undercover officers to make small street-level drug buys—mostly crack cocaine—from gang members over a period of time.

In all, the task force made nearly 100 drug buys, totaling more than five kilos of crack cocaine. “The majority of these buys were done while we recorded video and audio,” Gagliano said. “Not only did we get the subject’s voice on tape, we also see the exchange.”

He added, “In a city as small as Newburgh and as violent—there have already been four homicides this year, all directly related to gang violence—these arrests will have a substantial effect on the crime rate in the city.”

After an early-morning briefing, agents and officers fanned out over the city in teams. Those arrested were brought back to the armory for processing and booking. Of the 60 members of the Bloods and 18 members of the Latin Kings who were indicted—some were already in jail on other charges—approximately 61 were in custody by early this afternoon. The sweep also netted four guns and a large amount of cash. The search for those still at large is ongoing.

George Venizelos, acting assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York Field Office, had nothing but praise for today’s operation and the Safe Streets Task Force. “I have never been involved with a task force that had this many different member agencies who worked so well together,” Venizelos said. “It’s been a terrific partnership, and the proof of our success can be seen in today’s arrests.”

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