Another Latin Kings member pleads guilty
BY Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com August 15, 2012 4:20PM
Updated: September 17, 2012 1:01PM
A Hammond man has pleaded guilty to taking part in the Latin Kings street gang racketeering conspiracy, including killing at least two people.
Sergio Robles pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to racketeer and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute at least 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 5 kilograms of cocaine.
According to a plea agreement filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, prosecutors will recommend that Robles serve 25 years on both charges.
Robles was charged last fall with more than 20 other defendants in an indictment that charged them with drug trafficking in both Lake County and Chicago and with killing numerous people as part of their conspiracy.
The indictment claimed that Robles, along with co-defendant Santiago Gudino, killed Mark Balnius, who they thought was a rival gang member, on July 12, 2003 in Chicago.
A few months later in December 2003, according to the indictment, Robles and other defendants brought Jonathan Zimmerman from Chicago to Hammond, where they killed him in retaliation for using counterfeit money to buy drugs.
Then in May 2008, he and others helped to shoot at two people in East Chciago. One of the victims, Jose Cortez, was killed.
The government also accused him of placing a bet in 2007 with other Latin Kings members to see who would first kill a Latin Dragon leader in retaliation for the killing of the brother of Latin Kings leader Alexander Vargas.
All but two defendants have now pleaded guilty in the case, leaving just Dante Leandro Reyes and Martin Anaya as the only ones still scheduled to go to trial in September.
One more defendant, Paulino Salizar, 30, from Chicago, is still on the run from law enforcement.