22nd defendant in Latin Kings case pleads guilty
BY Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org March 14, 2013 10:02PM
Updated: April 16, 2013 4:14PM
Federal attorneys are close to wrapping up their racketeering case against the local Latin Kings street gang.
Dante Reyes, 35, a Mexican citizen, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hammond to one count of racketeering. He was the 22nd defendant in the case and the last one in custody to plead guilty or go to trial.
Paulino Salazar, 30, of Chicago, is still at large.
U.S. Attorney David Capp first announced charges in the case in July 2010 against six defendants, including Alexander Vargas of Highland. The charges claimed the gang members ran an organized drug dealing ring in Hammond and the south side of Chicago for more than a decade and killed numerous people, including Joe Walsh and Gonzalo Diaz outside a Griffith restaurant in February 2007. The indictment continued to grow as more defendants were added. The defendants’ crimes reached down to Texas and included 19 murders.
Six of the defendants have been sentenced, including former Chicago police officer Alex Guerrero, who admitted to using his badge to help steal for the Latin Kings. He was sentenced to 228 months in prison. His partner, Antonio Martinez Jr., is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.
In a release, Capp thanked the many law enforcement agencies that helped investigated the case, which he said has helped to reduce violence in Northwest Indiana.
“We are not finished — we will continue to investigate and prosecute members of organized criminal gangs or those who deal with such individuals,” he said in the release.