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Feds charge 8 more NW Indiana gang members

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Federal prosecutors on Friday charged eight alleged Imperial Gangsters street gang members in a 41-count indictment that expands on previous homicide and drug trafficking charges.

The indictment Friday and those prior allege 12 murders and eight attempted murders dating to 2002, according to David Capp, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, who announced the charges at a news conference in Hammond.  

“With this indictment we have now charged 23 members of the Imperial Gangsters,” Capp said. “The Imperial Gangsters is an ongoing criminal enterprise and we will continue our efforts until all members are off the streets.”

Friday’s indictment included charges against new defendants for conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. Those charged were: Salvador Chavez, 33, Chicago; Raymond Campos, 28, Ace Cortez, 33, Julius Solis, 23, Darmaile Cortez Sutton, 29, Eddie Torres, 42, and Richard Reyes, 40, all of East Chicago; and Julian Guillermo Serna, 23, of Munster.

The indictment also alleges five additional homicides that were not alleged in previous indictments:
•    The 2004 homicide of Anuar David Paez in East Chicago allegedly by Cortez;
•    The 2005 homicide of Guadalupe Trevino in Gary, allegedly by Jason Medina, who was previously indicted;
•    The 2007 homicide of Rene Alonzo in East Chicago, allegedly by Reyes;
•    The 2007 homicide of Luis Ortiz in Hammond, allegedly Juan Briseno, who was previously indicted;
•    The 2008 homicide of Mario Soriano in Hammond, allegedly by Serna.

The indictment also charges Briseno with three attempted homicides that were not previously charged in 2008 and 2009. Solis is also accused in a new attempted murder charge dating to 2009.

In addition to Briseno, seven people remain charged in prior indictments: Justin Weaver, Michael Anthony Castillo, Jason Medina, Edward Raye Serna, Robert Lockhart, Armando Jose Velasquez and Anthony Baldazo.

Seven people have pleaded guilty: Galo Benjamin Feliciano, Guillermo Briseno, Alejandro Balboa Lara, Kevin Beltran, David Almaraz, Joseph Rene Torres and Alejandro Briseno.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the East Chicago Police Department; the Federal Bureau of Investigation and law enforcement offices in Gary, Hammond and Lake County are investigating. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Nozick.

 

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  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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