Former Chicago cop admits role in Latin Kings case
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com August 2, 2012 3:58PM
Updated: August 2, 2012 6:17PM
Fighting back tears, former Chicago Police Department Officer Alex Guerrero admitted Thursday morning that he used his badge to steal drugs, guns and money from people in Lake County and Illinois for the Latin Kings street gang.
One of the people he robbed was Hammond resident James Walsh, just two months before he was gunned down allegedly by members of the Latin Kings outside a Griffith restaurant.
“My partner and I with our police uniforms went into his property,” Guerrero, 42, told U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano at his change of plea hearing in Hammond.
Guerrero and his partner, Antonio Martinez Jr., were arrested last fall on charges of taking part in the racketeering conspiracy of the Latin Kings in 2004 through 2006.
At the time, Guerrero was a member of a tactical team that patrolled the south side of Chicago. He admitted Thursday that he would routinely pull people over or enter homes using his badge, police-issued gun, police vest and police car. He used these to make the stops and enterings appear to be part of legitimate police business but would instead use the opportunity to steal from the people, he said.
Some of these acts took place while he was on duty as a police officer.
Co-defendant Sisto Bernal, who has already pleaded guilty in the case, would tell them who to rob, Guerrero said, and they would then give him the stolen goods in return for payment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Nozick said that Guerrero also robbed an East Chicago home as a Chicago police officer and stole $20,000 to $25,000 in drug money. In return, Bernal paid them $3,000 to $4,000 each, Nozick said.
They never made any official report of this incident with the Chicago Police Department, however, Nozick said.
They stole two handguns from a Hammond house in 2005, he said, and tied up rival gang member Walsh when they robbed his house in December 2006. The two also took marijuana from a warehouse near Rockford, Ill., and robbed a woman transporting drugs from Mexico to Chicago.
“During all of these events, they abused their position of power,” Nozick said during the change of plea hearing.
Guerrero’s attorney, Kevin Milner, said Guerrero was upset at having to go through his experience before his family and at the prospect of facing a long prison sentence. A plea agreement reached with the prosecutors recommends that he serve 19 years in prison.
“He is emotionally distraught,” Milner said of Guerrero.
However, Milner said he was pleased with the plea agreement, especially considering all the charges.
Lozano set Guerrero’s sentencing for Jan. 11.