43 Latin Kings targeted in two-year drug investigation
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE September 13, 2012 3:20PM
Updated: September 13, 2012 3:29PM
More than 40 suspected members of the Latin Kings face narcotics charges for their alleged roles in two drug trafficking organizations that supplied and distributed huge quantities of heroin, cocaine and marijuana in Chicago and the south suburbs.
Of those arrested, 26 face federal charges stemming from an investigation of narcotics and firearms trafficking, a release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago said. The other 17 face related state charges in Cook and Will counties.
On Wednesday, federal agents seized an undetermined amount of cash and 13 firearms, including five long-barreled weapons in the final phase of the operation. Sixteen people were arrested, joining six already in federal custody. Four suspects remain fugitives, according to federal prosecutors.
The two-year investigation, which was aided by an undercover agent who infiltrated the Latin Kings for an extended time, previously led to the seizure of more than $50,000; four firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun; two pounds of heroin and wholesale quantities of cocaine in Chicago; and nearly two tons of marijuana seized along the Southwest border, the release said.
Among those arrested were Damian Rivera, 31, of Burbank, and Emmanuel Fernandez, 27, of Chicago, the release said.
Rivera was the alleged leader of a drug trafficking organization in Chicago that bought and sold heroin, the charges allege. Between March and June this year, the organization distributed or attempted to distribute at least 5.5 kilograms of heroin and collected more than $171,850 in drug money, the release said.
Also charged were Pedro Antonio Hernandez Aceves, who allegedly brokered the shipments for Rivera’s organization, and Emmanuel Fernandez, who allegedly stored and distributed the heroin.
Also arrested were several gang members who allegedly planned to rob what they thought was a drug stash house, but was actually a ruse set up as part of the undercover sting operation, the release said. They included Justin R. Davila, 23; his brother, Jason J. Davila, 21; and Nieko E. Hadley, 20, all of Joliet.
Twenty-two suspects were charged with drug distribution offenses in two separate criminal complaints unsealed following the arrests.
“Yesterday, the men and women of ATF, together with our law enforcement partners, arrested ranking members of the Latin Kings street gang operating in the suburbs of Summit, South Holland, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Orland Hills, New Lenox, Lemont, and Brookfield, with tentacles reaching into the Ogden police district on Chicago’s near west side, thereby making our respective communities safer,” Larry Ford, special agent-in-charge of ATF in Chicago, said in a statement.
Gary Hartwig, special agent-in-charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago, said in the statement, the investigation “dealt a serious blow to alleged criminal organizations suspected of trafficking large quantities of heroin and cocaine from Mexico into the Chicago area. The arrests, including those of several high-ranking Latin Kings gang members, dismantled a destructive supply chain and prevented untold amounts of dangerous drugs and guns from reaching our streets.”
Eight defendants were associated with Alan Cisneros, 27, of Summit, leader of a drug trafficking organization based in Summit, and alleged leader of the Midwest Region of the Almighty Latin King Nation, charges allege. He was arrested in May.
Between November 2011 and May 7, 2012, the Cisneros organization allegedly obtained and distributed multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine, the release said.
In a separate complaint, Juan Amaya, 37, of Chicago, an alleged ranking Latin Kings member who distributed drugs in Little Village neighborhood, was charged with distributing an ounce of cocaine to an undercover agent in November 2010.