Hammond man takes plea deal in drug, gang case

2013-04-09T17:30:00Z 2013-04-09T22:41:05Z Hammond man takes plea deal in drug, gang caseTimes Staff nwitimes.com
April 09, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | A Hammond man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced charge in connection with a 2011 police raid stemming from alleged drug sales and criminal gang activity.

Antonio Andrade, one of three men and a juvenile arrested during the pre-dawn raid, is the father of Alex Andrade, who at the time was running against incumbent Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. He's also the husband of Maritza Andrade, who was running for the 6th District City Council seat.

Antonio Andrade, 41, served as campaign manager in his family's failed bids for office. He moved with his family to Hammond from Cicero, Ill., 18 months before the arrest.

Gang unit detectives said at the time that those arrested were believed to be members of the Satan's Disciples street gang based in the western suburbs of Chicago, which they described as one of two such organized criminal groups currently operating in Hammond's Hessville section.

According to the warrants, confidential police informants and other witnesses named Andrade as a recruiter for the street gang that targeted students at Scott Middle School and Morton High School for potential gang membership.

Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. on Tuesday accepted a plea deal for Andrade in which he pleaded guilty to maintaining a common nuisance, a felony punishable by up to three years in prison.

Court records indicate Andrade was sentenced to 44 days of time served.

In exchange, prosecutors dismissed three higher counts of criminal gang activity.

In the plea deal, Andrade admitted he was aware of the use of marijuana between Aug. 1, 2010, and May 30, 2011, in his Hammond home and did nothing to eliminate its use.

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