WASHINGTON – Two Lake County, Indiana men, both members of the Chicago-based Latin Kings,were convicted by a federal jury in the Northern District of Indiana of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute cocaine, marijuana and alprazolam, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II for the Northern District of Indiana.
Darrick Vallodolid aka Deuce, 28, of Hobart, Indiana and Robert Nieto aka Cowboy, 44, of Gary, Indiana were convicted after an 11-day jury trial before District Court Judge Philip P. Simon. The jury found that, as part of the racketeering conspiracy, on Sunday, April 12, 2009, Victor Lusinski, 15, of Lansing, Illinois, was riding a bicycle near an elementary school in Hammond, Indiana, when Vallodolid shot and killed him with a .22 caliber firearm, believing him to be a rival gang member. The evidence at trial showed that on Dec. 2, 2013, Rolando Correa, 22, of Gary, Indiana, was killed in Gary when coming to the aid of his next door neighbors, who were victims of a home invasion robbery which Nieto assisted in setting up and listened to a police scanner to assist in the escape of the robbers. The jury also found that Vallodolid and Nieto each conspired to distribute or possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine as part of the racketeering conspiracy and drug conspiracy. The jury also found that Vallodolid and Nieto each conspired to distribute or possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana as part of the drug conspiracy.
“The defendants participated in unspeakable violence on behalf of their vicious Latin Kings gang, including the senseless murder of a 15-year-old boy who was riding his bicycle near an elementary school in Hammond,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “These convictions further demonstrate the Department of Justice’s ongoing and unwavering commitment to attacking the scourge of gang violence on the streets of Chicago, Hammond, Gary, and throughout our country.”
“Reducing violent crime in Northern Indiana is a top priority of my office,” said U.S. Attorney Kirsch. “Yesterday’s guilty verdict of two killers for the Latin Kings street gang, along with the convictions of dozens of other violent gang members, will take them off of our streets and put them behind bars. My office and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively prosecute gang members like Vallodolid and Nieto and take them off our streets.”
According to evidence presented at trial and case documents, approximately 43 defendants have been charged with racketeering conspiracy as members of the Latin Kings in a criminal conspiracy that spanned a time period from 2003 until November 2017. The racketeering conspiracy charge alleges that gang members and associates were participants in a racketeering conspiracy that involved murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, sex trafficking, and narcotics distribution.
This case is the result of the investigative efforts of the ATF/HIDTA FIRE Task Force; the East Chicago Police Department; the FBI Gang Response Investigative Team; the Gary Police Department; the Hammond Police Department; the Lake County, Indiana Sheriff’s Department and Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area officers and agents. The Lake County Prosecutor’s Office also has provided assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David J. Nozick and Dean Lanter of the Northern District of Indiana along with Trial Attorney Joseph Cooley of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.
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