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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Multi-Agency Law Enforcement Operation Tackles Violent Crime, Drug Trafficking, Firearms Offenses, and Gang Activity in Broward County



29 Violent Offenders Charged, Including 23 Known Members and Associates of the Latin Kings Gang

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, A.D. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Office, Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), John Brooks, Chief, Sunrise Police Department (SPD), Amos Rojas Jr., United States Marshal, United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, and J.D. Patterson Jr., Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), announce the filing of federal charges against 29 defendants in 5 separate cases for their alleged participation in criminal conduct, including a violent racketeering (RICO) conspiracy, armed Hobbs Act robberies, a narcotics conspiracy, drug trafficking, and firearms violations by convicted felons.

The referenced indictments are, in large part, the result of initiatives which stem from the Violence Reduction Partnership, launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2011. Through these Partnerships, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its federal and local law enforcement allies have sought to dismantle the most violent criminal networks that plague communities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. The Partnerships strive to combat violent crime, narcotics trafficking, gang activity and firearms offenses by prosecuting offenders and working with community leaders and non-profit entities to provide preventive services to the local populations.

The members of the Violence Reduction Partnership, and participating agencies, include the United States Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Office, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), Sunrise Police Department (SPD), United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Hollywood Police Department, Homestead Police Department, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), North Miami Beach Police Department (NMBPD), Miami-Dade Police Department, City of Miami Police Department, Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Office, Broward County Office of the State Attorney, and Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney.

United States Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “The continued collaboration between federal and local law enforcement agencies to attack violent crime, drug trafficking, and gang activity is of paramount importance. Today’s charges demonstrate that we are dedicated to improving public safety and the quality of life for law-abiding residents by protecting neighborhoods, adopting proactive law enforcement initiatives, and prosecuting repeat offenders, firearms violators and criminal networks. We will continue to prosecute individuals whose violent criminal conduct infects our communities.”

“Today’s arrest demonstrates law enforcement’s relentless effort to reduce violent crime and rid our streets of criminal gangs,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Hugo J. Barrera. “In conjunction with our Federal, State and Local partners, we continue to work together to end the gang violence that erodes the quality of life in our neighborhoods. The arrests today sends a clear message that our community will not tolerate the heinous activity perpetrated by violent felons and evidences our commitment to work together to dismantle violent street gangs.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge A.D. Wright stated, “The DEA is proud to work with our law enforcement partners to target these violent offenders. Taking these gang members off the street makes Florida a safer place.”

U.S. Marshal Amos Rojas, Jr. stated, “This operation demonstrates the willingness of Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies to work together to combat violent criminal gangs in our communities”

“The Miami-Dade Police Department remains committed to work with fellow law enforcement agencies in arresting those who harm our communities,” said MDPD Director J.D. Patterson.

Today, U.S. Attorney Ferrer, joined by members of federal and local law enforcement agencies announce the most recent results of their investigative efforts. The cases announced today include:

    United States v. Juan Alvarez, a/k/a “King Juanma,” et. al., Case No. 15-60094-CR-Cohn

    The indictment charges 23 members and associates of the Latin Kings, an organized criminal street gang operating in the Southern District of Florida, for their alleged participation in a violent racketeering conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d).

    Charged in the twenty (20) count indictment are Juan Alvarez, a/k/a “King Juanma,” 30, of Miami, Arturo Andrade, a/k/a “King Tu,” 25, of Miami, Sean Buendia, a/k/a “King Chill,” 32, of Davie, Lazaro Castellon, a/k/a “King Speedy,” a/k/a “Laz,” 36, of Hialeah, Domenic Enrique, a/k/a “King Bolo,” 28, of Pembroke Pines, Tony Estevez, a/k/a “King Kilo,” 29, of Miami, Samuel German, a/k/a “King Traffic,” 31, of Hollywood, Alberto Hernandez, Jr., a/k/a “King Gordo,” 20, of Miami, Christopher Isabel, a/k/a “King Nano,” 33, of Plantation, Barbara Lee, a/k/a “Queen Flaka,” 49, of Fort Lauderdale, Andres Lugo, a/k/a “King Ghost,” 33, of Plantation, Danielle Lucatorto, a/k/a “Cookie,” 29, of Margate, John Martins, a/k/a “King Slowdown,” 28, of Lake Worth, Alain Medero, a/k/a “King C-Low,” 31, of Miami, Fernando Moreno, a/k/a “King Boom,” 32, of West Palm Beach, Jorge Perez-Hernandez, 44, of Tampa, Luis Rivera, a/k/a “King Tato,” 32, of Miami Beach, Giovanny Rocha-Collado, a/k/a “King Joker,” 35, of Miami, Barbaro Sanchez, a/k/a “King Tata,” 28, of Miami, Bobbie Tejada, a/k/a “King Riko,”32, of Fort Lauderdale, Jerry Vazquez, 35, of West Palm Beach, Giovanny Viera, a/k/a “King Hollywood,” 35, of Miami, and Juan Marcos Vega, 22, of Homestead.

    The indictment alleges that the Latin Kings are one of the largest and most well organized gangs operating in the United States. Chapters of the Latin Kings operate in at least 39 states, including Florida. The gang's primary source of income is generated through offenses related to the distribution of narcotics, assault, robbery, burglary, and identity theft. Members of the gang commit these criminal acts with the intent to benefit, promote, and further the interest of their organization, and to increase their own standing or position within the Latin Kings organization. The Latin Kings adhere to a local, regional, state, and a national hierarchical system. The local chapter reports to the regional officers, the regional officers report to the state officers, and the state officers report to the national officers. State and local chapters, often also referred to as tribes, are comprised of a five person leadership structure, intended to represent the five points of a king’s crown. These positions are identified by the titles of Inca or first crown, Cacique or second crown, Enforcer or third crown, Treasurer or fourth crown, and Secretary or fifth crown. Together, the crowns ensure the Latin Kings members follow the rules and regulations set forth in the Latin King Manifesto, referred to as the “KMC.” Members are required to pay dues, the source of which is usually generated through criminal activity, attend regular meetings and adhere to the gang’s established policies. Failure to adhere to the rules can result in disciplinary action. The Latin Kings colors are Black and Gold. Gang markings consist of a 5 or 3-point "sacred crown," the letters LK (Latin Kings), ALK (Almighty Latin Kings), ALKN (Almighty Latin King Nation), ALKQN (Almighty Latin King Queen Nation), and drawings of the Lion. Once accepted into the organization, members choose a “King” name by which they become known.

    At various times, defendants Isabel, Tejada, Rivera, Alvarez, Castellon, Viera, Estevez, German, Medero, Lugo, Rocha-Collado, and Moreno held leadership positions within the state and/or local chapters of the Latin Kings. In their respective positions, these defendants conducted meetings, collected dues, and maintained discipline among members of the Latin Kings.

    The twenty-three charged defendants were allegedly employed by and associated with the Latin Kings, a criminal enterprise that affected interstate and foreign commerce, and conspired to violate the federal RICO statute through a pattern of racketeering activity that consisted of multiple acts and threats involving murder, robbery, kidnaping, narcotics trafficking, witness tampering and retaliation, and fraud.

    In addition to the racketeering conspiracy charge, many of the defendants were also indicted for their alleged participation in other criminal activity.

    Defendants Tejada, Lugo, and Lucatorto are charged with committing a Hobbs Act robbery in Broward County, on or about June 11 and June 12, 2014, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1951(a) and 2. The indictment alleges that the defendants attempted to forcibly rob an individual of controlled substances (narcotics). Tejada and Lugo were also charged with possessing a firearm during the commission of the armed robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 924(c)(1)(A) and 2.

    Defendants Alvarez and Vega were also charged with committing a Hobbs Act Robbery in Miami-Dade County, on or about September 28, 2014. The indictment alleges that the defendants used a firearm to forcibly rob an individual of narcotics and personal items.

    Defendant Buenida is also charged with committing a Hobbs Act Robbery in Broward County, on or about June 6, 2014. The indictment alleges that the defendant forcibly robbed an individual of narcotics.

    Defendants Rocha-Collado, Medrero, Estevez, Tejada, German and Lee were also charged, with distributing a controlled substance (either cocaine or molly) in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, on dates on or about and between December 30, 2013 and October 30, 2014, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).

    Isabel, Moreno, Perez-Hernandez, and Vazquez were also charged with conspiring to distribute a controlled substance (heroin), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.

    Tejada, Alvarez, Viera, Enrique and Castellon were each also charged with being felons in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1).

    During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized 31 firearms and recovered a variety of narcotics, including cocaine, crack, heroin, and molly.

    This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia Vaglienti and Lawrence LaVecchio.
    United States v. Jonathan Gonzalez, III, a/k/a “King Charlie,” Case. No. 15-60059-CR-Cohn

    On March 26, 2015, Jonathan Gonzalez III, a/k/a “King Charlie,” 32, Plantation, was charged in a single count indictment for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

    According to the indictment, on February 21, 2014 in Broward County, convicted felon Gonzalez was in possession of a .38 caliber revolver that affected interstate and foreign commerce.

    This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Dispoto.
    United States v. Jonathan Jose Castro-Guerra and Chavon Hernandez, Case No. 15-20098-CR-Moore

    On February 26, 2015, Jonathan Jose Castro-Guerra, 29, of Hollywood, and Chavon Hernandez, 33, of Hollywood, were charged in a single count indictment for being felons in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

    According to the indictment, on or about September 18, 2014 in Miami-Dade County, convicted felons Castro-Guerra and Hernandez possessed a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and three rounds of 9mm ammunition that affected interstate and foreign commerce.

    This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Brown.
    United States v. Victor Martinez-Otero, Jr., a/k/a “King Bless” and Luis Almodovar-Alvarez, a/k/a “King Bolillo,” Case. No. 15-60092-CR-Dimitrouleas

    On May 5, 2015, Victor Martinez-Otero, a/k/a “King Bless,” 25, and Luis Almodovar-Alvarez, a/k/a “King Boliollo,” 20, both of Kissimmee, were charged in a two count indictment for unlawfully possessing firearms and ammunition.

    According to this indictment, on or about August 7, 2014 in Broward County, Martinez-Otero and Almodovar-Alvarez were unlawfully receiving a 9mm semi-automatic handgun and eight rounds of 9mm ammunition that affected interstate commerce, while under a separate indictment. At the time of possession, Martinez-Otero was allegedly a convicted felon.

    This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Shockley.

    United States v. Oscar Valdivia, a/k/a “King Oscar,” a/k/a “King Two Times,” Case. No. 15-60090-CR- Cohn

    On May 5, 2015, Oscar Valdivia, a/k/a “King Oscar,” a/k/a “King Two Times,” 21, of Sunrise, was charged in a six count indictment for illegally possessing and selling firearms and ammunition.

    According to this indictment, on four separate dates in Broward County, Valdivia did unlawfully receive firearms and ammunition that affected interested commerce, while under a separate indictment. This indictment alleges that he received: two .40 caliber semiautomatic handguns and a .357 revolver on February 25, 2014; a .22 caliber rifle on March 18, 2014; a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun on April 15, 2014; a 5.56 mm semiautomatic rifle, a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, and 1,000 rounds of ammunition on May 3, 2104; a semiautomatic receiver on May 8, 2014. The indictment further alleges that on June 20, 2014, Valdivia sold a .22 caliber handgun and ammunition to a person he believed was a convicted felon.

    This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Shockley.

    If convicted, the defendants face the following possible statutory sentences for their charged offenses: up to twenty years in prison for the RICO conspiracy, up to twenty years in prison for the Hobbs Act robbery; a term of imprisonment not less than seven years for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (if the firearm is brandished, otherwise not less than five years) consecutive to other terms of imprisonment; up to ten years in prison for possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon; up to life in prison for conspiring to possess controlled substances with the intent to distribute; and up to forty years in prison for possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute.

    Mr. Ferrer thanked the law enforcement agencies, community leaders, and social service providers involved in the Violence Reduction Partnership, the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). Mr. Ferrer also commended the investigative efforts of ATF, DEA, BSO, Sunrise Police Department, United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, FBI, Hollywood Police Department, Homestead Police Department, ICE-HSI, North Miami Beach Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, City of Miami Police Department, Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Office, Broward County Office of the State Attorney, and Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney.

An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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