Feds: Two Chicago cops took orders from Latin Kings
BY Teresa Auch Schultz Sun-Times Media November 18, 2011 6:04PM
U.S. Attorney David Capp of the Northern District of Indiana (left) listens as Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy speaks during a press conference announcing indictments against Latin King members and associates, including two Chicago police officers, at
Updated: December 20, 2011 8:08AM
A bistate crackdown on the Latin Kings street gang on Friday snared two Chicago Police officers accused of using their badges to rob people in Northwest Indiana and Illinois.
Their arrests were part of a broader crackdown against gang members and associates accused of taking part in 19 murders, attempted murder, drug trafficking, kidnapping and weapons violations, mostly in Chicago and Indiana but stretching down to Texas, said U.S. Attorney David Capp of the Northern District of Indiana. The crimes date back to 1989, officials said.
Officers Alex Guerrero, 41, and Antonio Martinez Jr., 40, both of Chicago, helped the gang steal, according to the indictment unveiled Friday in federal court in Hammond.
The two officers would take orders from gang member Sisto Bernal, 45, of Chicago — also indicted Friday — and then use their uniforms and badges to pull people over or enter houses.
For instance, in 2006 the two officers gained entry to an East Chicago house, claiming they were there on police business. They then took $20,000 to $25,000 in drug money, according to the indictment, and gave it to Bernal, who in turn paid them $3,000 to $4,000.
They did the same thing to homes in Chicago, Hammond and elsewhere, including the home of James Walsh, believed to be a leader of the rival Latin Dragons, two months before Walsh was gunned down in 2007 — at the hands of members of the ring, the indictment says.
Guerrero and Martinez received at least $10,000 to steal guns, hundreds of pounds of drugs and tens of thousands of dollars, the indictment claims.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he was disgusted at the alleged actions of the two officers, saying they are exceptions on a force made up overwhelmingly of good cops.
“I’m glad that these officers are arrested,” he said. “We have to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Capp said complex cases like this one that involve gangs are already hard enough to investigate, especially because it’s hard to find witnesses willing to provide information. Adding corrupt police officers makes it infinitely harder, he said.
Martinez resigned from the department two years ago for medical reasons, Capp said, but Guerrero was on patrol Thursday when he was arrested.
Authorities said they didn’t know if either of the officers were on duty when any of the thefts happened.
A total of 21 people have been charged in the case. Six people were charged in the case a year and a half ago. That indictment included the 2007 shooting deaths of James Walsh and Gonzalo Diaz, believed to be leaders of the rival gang Latin Dragons, outside an Indiana restaurant.
The newest version of the indictment claims the defendants have been conspiring together since 1989, when defendant Bernal, of Chicago, was caught with cocaine and co-defendant Martin Anaya, 41, of Chicago, beat someone for trying to leave the gang.
The gang would often resort to killing people, whether to settle disputes over territory or because the person was a member of a rival gang, according to the indictment.