HAMMOND | Citing his cooperation in the federal probe of the Latin Kings, a former Chicago police officer will serve 12 years in prison for his role in committing armed robberies for the street gang in Northwest Indiana and Illinois.
The sentence departed from federal guidelines calling for Antonio C. Martinez Jr., 42, of Chicago, to serve life in prison. Martinez was charged in a sweeping indictment in 2011, along with fellow Chicago police officer Alex Guerrero and alleged Latin Kings members.
At Thursday's hearing in Hammond federal court, authorities said Martinez was integral in building a case against Guerrero, who is now serving 19 years for conducting armed robberies of drug traffickers for the gang.
Though U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano said he didn't like “dirty cops,” he felt Martinez deserved a reward for his cooperation and agreed to the sentence recommended by the government.
FBI special agent Julie Anderson testified she first spoke to Martinez about his involvement with the Latin Kings in 2010, and he immediately admitted his actions and began cooperating with the investigation.
“I was extremely satisfied with his cooperation,” Anderson said.
The cooperation included Martinez testifying to a grand jury against Guerrero, 43, and gang members and making controlled calls and attending controlled meetings to assist in the investigation, Anderson said.
Prosecutors would not have been able to indict Guerrero without his participation, and Martinez pleading guilty a month after being indicted likely led other defendants to plead guilty, Anderson said.
In his plea agreement, Martinez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, interference with commerce by threat or violence and use of a firearm relating to crimes of violence and drug trafficking.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Nozick said Martinez and Guerrero were both on his radar as early as 2005, but he had insufficient evidence to bring charges.
Martinez, clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, called his actions “deplorable” and said his indictment has been hard on his family.
“Words can't describe how remorseful I am for my actions. ... All I've done is cry myself to sleep every day for the last 18 months,” Martinez said.
Lozano also sentenced Martinez to five years of supervised release following his prison term. He also is required to complete two years of community service, where he will educate young people on the negative impacts of gangs.
In addition to Martinez, Lozano sentenced alleged Latin Kings member Hiluterio Chavez to 20 years in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty in 2012 to robbing drug traffickers for the gang and helping distribute more than 150 kilograms of cocaine.