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Feds won’t seek death in kidnap, killing

HAMMOND — Federal prosecutors announced Friday that they will not seek the death penalty against four men accused of murdering an East Chicago man suspected of stealing drugs from a street gang leader.

The notice, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Hammond, did not elaborate on why the Justice Department and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder decided not pursue a death sentence for Jesus V. Fuentes, Kiontay Pennington, Adron Tancil and Oscar Cosme.

The four are charged with murder in aid of racketeering and using a gun during a drug trafficking crime that resulted in death in the fatal shooting of Julios Cartagena in May 2003. Both charges are eligible for capital punishment.

Court records claim that Fuentes, who prosecutors say brought the Two Six Nation gang to Northwest Indiana, believed that Cartagena, a fellow gang member, had stolen about 110 pounds of cocaine from him.

In retaliation, Two Six members tried to kidnap Cartagena’s six children and their mother on Nov. 23, 2002 to get him to return the drugs, , but Hammond police were able to save the family, according to court records.

Fuentes then sent Pennington, Tancil, Cosme and another gang member, Louis Henderson, to kidnap Cartagena, but they botched the attempt and shot and killed Cartagena instead, according to prosecutors. They said a police chase ensued, the defendants’ car crashed and Henderson, the driver, died.

No one was charged in Cartagena’s death until last year, after racketeering cases were filed against two other local gangs, the Imperial Gangsters and the Latin Kings. U.S. Attorney David Capp said people involved in those cases helped the government develop the case against the four defendants.



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