Feds: Police take down Holland Latin King leadership, 31 suspected members indicted
By John Agar | firstname.lastname@example.org
on February 13, 2013 at 8:20 AM, updated February 13, 2013 at 11:58 AM Print
Authorities say 31 Holland-area residents with Latin Kings ties are indicted in federal court.
HOLLAND, MI – Federal prosecutors alleged that Holland Latin Kings have tried to kill, firebombed houses, beat rivals, tampered with witnesses and trafficked in drugs and weapons – and been the dominant gang, and scourge, in the city since the mid-1990s.
An indictment unsealed Tuesday named 31 with suspected ties to the street gang, and should deal a significant blow to the gang. Those named in the indictments include Eric Ruibal, Mario Herrera and Desidario Amaro, all Holland residents who hold regional positions.
In earlier testimony, Ruibal was described as a liaison between the Holland and Chicago Heights Latin King chapters.
The net also snared Nicholas Bernal, the “Inca” or leader, of the East side chapter, and Francisco Martinez Jr., Inca of the West side chapter, and the second-in-command of both chapters, records showed.
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Assistant U.S. Attorneys Phillip Green and Russell Kavalhuna wrote the 76-page indictment. Most of the suspects have been long known to local enforcement.
The government said the gang promoted, protected and enhanced its reputation through intimidation, threats, possession of firearms, and violence.
The gang sold drugs and weapons to make money.
Holland Latin Kings, or HLK, were believed responsible for “Retaliating with acts of violence and intimidation against non-members and rival gang members who committed acts against the enterprise’s members, associates, families of members and associates, and enterprise.”
The local Latin Kings, divided by East and West chapters, are part of nationwide organization. The gangs have always been overseen by the Chicago Heights chapter.
“Over the past twenty years in Holland, rivalries have developed between the HLK and other street gangs, such as the Gangster Disciples (GDs), the Tiny Rascals Gang (TRG), the Vatos Locos (VLs) and Maniac Latin Disciples (MLs),” the federal prosecutors wrote.
"The HLK has historically been dominant among the Holland-area gangs, and fights and shootings between the HLK and other groups have become commonplace. Since its appearance in Holland in 1993, the HLK has grown substantially in Southwest Michigan, and throughout numerous Michigan prisons. The HLK also conducts business with Latin King chapters in other states.”
The Latin Kings has a Manifesto and local constitution to be followed. The manifesto says Latin Kings is not a gang but an organization with laws that govern members.
Among the rules: No cooperation with police, or taking a lie detector without permission of a leader. No King or Queen can stand idle when another King or Queen needs help.
Drugs such as angel dust, LSD and heroin “cannot be sold in our communities,” but there are no rules for the sale of marijuana and cocaine.
The prosecutors said HLK members collectively sell marijuana and powder cocaine, and protect turf with violence. The gang possesses “nation guns,” which can be kept at various locations. They are also traded for other firearms with Latin Kings in Grand Rapids and Chicago, records showed.
Holland gang members are expected to use “tactics to limit witness cooperation with law enforcement, including threats and violence.”
The government said that Ruibal, Herrera and Amaro, the alleged regional leaders, are responsible for ensuring that all officers and brothers respect gang laws. They also have authority to impose punishments, or “justice,” for those who violate rules, the government said.
“HLK regional leaders also discuss the acceptance of new members and run background checks with the Chicago leaders to ensure there are no informants moving from state to state.”
Both Holland chapters hold meetings. The location is kept secret until the last minute to limit police surveillance. Members are strip-searched, and have to take batteries out of cell phones to prevent hidden recording devices.
Still, the government said, a confidential informant managed to secretly record a meeting. The informant has been moved out of state for his own protection.
Court papers also described violent acts, including beatings, stabbings, and drive-by shootings. Records also noted that gang leaders held meetings or a “servicio” at homes on Miles Standish and Oxford Court in Holland, and at Ransom Park and Wendt Park.
According to federal documents, here are the 31 suspects named in the indictment: Eric Ruibal, Mario Herrera, Francinet Cruz, Nicholas Bernal, Arturo DeLeon, Raymon Gaytan Jr., Francisco Martinez Jr., Ramon Morales, Antonio Rios, Jose Hernandez, Julio Hernandez, Juan C. Hernandez, Frank Cisneros, Joseph Martinez, David Casillas, Caesar Garza, James Gonzales, Joshua Grant, Anthony Guzman, Arnulfo Lopez, Francisco Mares, Joseph Menchaca, Matthew Penaloza, Andrew Penaloza, Joe Cabrera, Roberto Reese, James Potts, Desidario Amaro, Miguel Soto, Uvaldo Ruiz and Yancy Martinez. http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/02/feds_police_take_down_holland.html