A self-admitted Latin King gang member has been sentenced to nine years in prison for racketeering conspiracy. 

Jorge "Silent" Esqueda, 24, of East Chicago, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Philip Simon after pleading guilty to the conspiracy charge, according to a U.S. attorney news release. 

As part of an earlier plea agreement, Esqueda admitted he was a manager or supervisor of criminal activity as a Latin King gang member.

He also admitted that he was responsible for between 3.5 and 5 kilograms of cocaine and that he possessed a firearm in connection with his offense during his time in the street gang, records show. 

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Esqueda was a Latin King from 2009 through his arrest in January 2017, according to court records. As "Inca," or leader, for the Latin King's 142nd Street set, Esqueda distributed marijuana and cocaine, paid dues and attended gang meetings, posted up and patrolled Latin King territory, prosecutors argued.

He shot a rival gang member in August 2009, used an AK-47 gun to shoot at rival members in East Chicago's Marktown neighborhood, and on a separate occasion, shot at the Gangster Disciples group. 

"Protection of the public, deterrence, and just punishment favor a lengthy term of imprisonment," prosecutors argued. 

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Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.