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A Latin Kings member from Cedar Lake was sentenced to 27 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and possessing cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute.

Sergio M. Robles, also known as “Checko,” 30, was the last of 21 defendants, including two former Chicago police officers and several gang members, who were sentenced for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Nineteen pleaded guilty and one co-defendant, Martin Anaya, went to trial and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Robles was also held responsible for participating in the murder of Jonathan Zimmerman, of Hammond, and Jose Cortez, of East Chicago, during his sentencing, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.

According to the release, Zimmerman was suspected of using counterfeit bills in drug transactions by the Latin Kings and was shot to death by a co-defendant of Robles. Zimmerman was shot to death because the Latin Kings believed he was a member of a rival gang.

“Today’s 27-year sentence demonstrates that our focused efforts on investigating and prosecuting gang members committing violent acts on the streets of Northern Indiana, past or present, is long from over,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch II. “Just last week we had a member receive a 28-year sentence. Our community and law enforcement partnerships are some of the best and we will continue investigating and prosecuting these type of cases.”

Robles had a firearm and was involved in a conspiracy to distribute 150 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, the release states.

Court documents allege The Latin Kings have been responsible for at least 19 murders in Chicago, Northwest Indiana and Big Spring, Texas. The gang originated in Chicago and has since branched out and is now made up of multiple regional chapters.

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Several federal and local agencies were a part of the investigation, including the Griffith Police Department, the East Chicago Police Department, the Hammond Police Department, the Highland Police Department and the Houston Police Department.

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