CHICAGO — Federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced sweeping charges against dozens of alleged Latin Kings street gang members — including nine in Northwest Indiana accused of using violence to further the gang’s operations.
Zachary Fardon, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced new charges Tuesday in Chicago alongside U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana David Capp, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, and federal agency heads. Law enforcement officials from Gary and East Chicago also were present.
In all, 26 alleged Latin Kings gang members have been accused in an ongoing investigation into the gang’s operations in Northwest Indiana.
Two separate indictments out of Chicago accuse 34 gang members in the city’s western suburbs and Southeast Side of using violent means to control territories, distribute drugs and kill rival gang members, according to court documents.
Fardon called the geographical scope of the investigation and indictments “breathtaking,” saying law enforcement agencies have been working for years to bring charges against dozens of alleged gang members.
During the afternoon news conference at the Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago, Capp called criminal organizations like the Latin Kings a “regional problem” that requires the blurring of state lines and cooperation from law enforcement.
“We’ve got defendants from Indiana, to our biggest cities to our smallest farm communities over a four-county area. It is a regional problem, and to address a regional problem, it needs a regional team of law enforcement,” Capp said.
Reynaldo “Sneaky” Robles, 24, of Portage; Nicholas “Cali” Baez, 22, of Whiting; Antonio “Stacks” Gamino, 19, of Griffith; Efren “Payoso” DelAngel, 21, of Hammond; Mark Anthony “Slim” Toney, 37, of Lake Village; William Dennis Salazar, 40, of Hammond; Darrick Vallodolid, 27, of Hobart; Robert “Cowboy” Nieto, 42, of Gary; and Peter “Pudge” Salinas, 30, of Hammond, are accused of taking part in a conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and to distribute narcotics in Northwest Indiana and elsewhere.
Seventeen alleged members and associates in Northwest Indiana previously were indicted in connection with the investigation.
The indictments allege members of the Latin Kings violently enforce discipline within its ranks, retaliating against rivals and former members to prevent cooperation with law enforcement.
The indictment accuses gang members of various acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, witness retaliation, sex trafficking, narcotics distribution and assault with dangerous weapons.
The new charges allege, in part, that Latin King gang members are responsible for a deadly shooting in July 2011 in Hammond and another fatal shooting at Estrella’s Bar in August 2014 in Hammond.
One listed defendant, Robles, is accused of taking direction July 18, 2011, from Aldon “Spooky” Perez, who was indicted previously, to shoot and kill Travis Nash, believed to be a rival gang member in Hammond.
After the news conference Tuesday, Gary Deputy Chief Derrick Cannon said the indictments are significant in slowing down the Latin Kings’ operations in Northwest Indiana and the rest of the Region.
“This shows law enforcement is serious about going after violent criminals and actively investigating these gangs,” Cannon said.
Capp said just two of the nine gang members indicted from Northwest Indiana have eluded arrest as of Tuesday afternoon.
He offered a warning Tuesday to those alleged gang members still out on the streets.
“If you are a member of one of these criminal enterprises, I don’t care what side of the border you live and I don’t care what side of the border you commit your crimes, we are coming after you and you are next,” he said.