High-ranking Latin King sentenced for role in Griffith homicides
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com May 10, 2013 4:04PM
Updated: May 11, 2013 8:50PM
A Latin Kings street gang leader who admitted to helping plan the two murders of rival gang leaders outside a Griffith restaurant in 2007 will serve 25 years in prison for his role in the killings and the racketeering conspiracy of the gang.
Ivan Quiroz, 32, of Posen, Ill., was looking at life in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to racketeer, possessing with the intent to distribute hundreds of pounds of marijuana and cocaine, two murder counts and other weapons charges. However, federal attorneys filed a motion asking for just 25 years after Quiroz helped the government.
Joseph Cooley, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, praised Quiroz for his cooperation and said that the government thought Quiroz might continue to be of help in future cases, although there is no guarantee they will ask that his sentence be reduced.
“He was completely candid with us,” Cooley said.
Quiroz’s attorney, Daniel Radakovich, said during the sentencing hearing Friday afternoon at the U.S. District Court in Hammond that his client had talked with federal attorneys after his arrest in the case numerous times.
Quiroz rose to one of the top leadership positions in this region of the Latin Kings, according to court filings, and helped plan the killings of James Walsh and Gonzalo Diaz in February 2007. Quiroz’s co-defendant and fellow Latin Kings leader Alexander Vargas ordered the killings as revenge for the shooting death of his brother, who was not involved in the gang.
Quiroz drove the car that carried Vargas and the shooters to the Griffith restaurant, and he fled from police after the killings. He and Vargas escaped to Mexico, where they stayed for about a month.
Quiroz apologized for his actions Friday and thanked the government for helping him leave the gang.
“It is something I will regret for the rest of my life,” he said of joining the gang when he was 15. “I was a coward for joining.”
Radakovich said Quiroz had done everything he could to atone for his crimes and would continue to do so. Quiroz, a Mexican citizen, will likely face deportation when he is released.