Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
State, Federal Law Enforcement Sweep Takes 19 Latin Kings off Streets; Investigation Yields Charges in Unsolved 2010 Murder of Woman
JOLIET – A multi-jurisdictional law enforcement operation resulted in the arrests on Wednesday of roughly 19 Joliet area gang members on both federal and state charges including narcotics and weapons offenses.
In addition, the operation enabled Joliet police to arrest one individual on charges of first-degree murder in connection with the 2010 shooting death of Nichole Rodriguez in Joliet.
The operational sweep focused mainly on members of the Latin Kings in Joliet and involved the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Joliet Police Department and the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad. State charges were filed on 14 gang members while five will face federal charges.
“Street gangs rely on organization and numbers to wreak havoc in our communities, but these multi-jurisdictional sweeps tear down their structures and reduce their ranks significantly,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “The involvement of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and ATF expands our reach exponentially and demonstrates our resolve to neutralize violent gang activity. We’ve been conducting gang sweeps since the early 1990s, and they have always reduced the kind of street violence that claimed the life of Nichole Rodriguez in 2010.”
Rodriguez was sitting in the passenger seat of her car in Joliet when she was shot twice on Feb. 23, 2010. Her 8-year-old daughter was sitting in the back seat when her mother was shot. During the investigation leading up to this sweep, detectives obtained evidence enabling the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office to file first-degree murder charges against Aaron M. Bowers, 25, of Joliet.
Bond for Bowers was set at $2.5 million on an arrest warrant for murder. He also faces six counts of weapons violations in connection with this operation.
“The Latin Kings are a very organized gang with an extensive history of violence and drug dealing within our community. This joint operation will have a lasting impact on the gang’s organizational hierarchy and overall effectiveness and will undoubtedly improve the safety and quality of life in the City of Joliet,” said Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton. “I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the members of the ATF, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Will County States Attorney’s Office, MANS and the Joliet Police Department for their hard work and dedication throughout this lengthy investigation.”
Jeffery Magee, ATF Special Agent in Charge, said: “Today’s charges demonstrate our commitment to get firearms, and the criminals who use them, off the streets. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement colleagues to combat firearms violence throughout Will County and the entire state of Illinois.”
Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, praised the dedication of the local, state and federal law enforcement officers for their brave work in this significant investigation.
In addition to Bowers, the following individuals were charged Wednesday on state criminal violations:
- Jordan Rent, 25, of Joliet, weapons violations, 8 counts;
- Salvador De Los Angeles, 33, of Joliet, narcotics violations, 1 count;
- David De Los Angeles, 29, of Joliet, narcotics violations, 1 count;
- Miguel Antonino, 24, of Joliet, weapons violations, 3 counts;
- Miguel Holloway-Valadez, 21, of Joliet, weapons violations, 1 count;
- Kimberly Ledwell, 31, of Joliet, narcotics violations, 1 count;
- Samuel Williams, 27, of Joliet, narcotics violations, 2 counts; weapons violations, 5 counts;
- Mario Quintero, 36, of Joliet, narcotics violations, 3 counts; weapons violations, 1 count;
- Richard Groth, 24, of Glendale Heights, narcotics violations, 2 counts;
- Salvador Lopez, 26, of Joliet, weapons violations, 7 counts;
- Gabriel Travis, 26, of Lockport, narcotics violation, 1 count;
- Juan Martinez, 37, of Joliet, narcotics violations, 1 count;
- Abiel Razo, 30, of Plainfield, narcotics violations, 1 count.
An additional six gang members were charged with federal weapons or narcotics offenses as a result of the sweep:
Clemente Lopez, 31, Carlos Lopez, 30, Ralph Garcia, 56, Collin Coon, 32, Gabriel Rosas, 39.