For Immediate Release
Ten Additional Latin Dragon Members Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy Including Five Members Charged with Involvement in Four Separate Murders
HAMMOND- Ten additional members of the criminal street gang, the Latin Dragon Nation, have been charged with racketeering conspiracy and other related offenses in a fourth superseding indictment unsealed today, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch.
According to the fourth superseding indictment, the Latin Dragons Nation is a criminal street gang that originated in Chicago and spread to other areas, including the Northern District of Indiana. Members and associates of the Latin Dragons Nation allegedly engage in acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, witness tampering, and assault, to protect the gang’s territory.
U.S. Attorney Kirsch said, “Gang members should not get comfortable in the Northern District of Indiana. We will never tolerate gang violence. Together with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively prosecute gang members for their criminal activity and seek appropriately lengthy prison sentences. Gang activity does not stop at the state line, and as evidenced by the charges announced today, neither do our investigations and prosecutions. Gangs terrorize our neighborhoods and put innocent lives at grave risk. My office will do everything we can to prevent and defeat gang activity like this.”
The ten additional defendants charged in the fourteen-count indictment are Ralph Daniel Mendez, 44, of Chicago, Illinois; Javier Aguilera, 26, of Chicago, Illinois; Jonathan Arevalo, 26, of Gary, Indiana; Nico Mata, 25, of Hammond, Indiana; Alec Nathaniel Aguilar, 20, of Chicago, Illinois; Justin Anaya, 18, of Chicago, Illinois; Keenan Seymour, 19, of Chicago, Illinois; David White, 24, of Chicago, Illinois; Tiffany Barragan, 21, of Chicago, Illinois; and Angelina Vilella, 20, of Chicago, Illinois.
In the fourth superseding indictment, Ralph Mendez, Jr., is also charged with the murder of Jose Gomez on May 23, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. Ralph Mendez, Jr., and David White are also charged with the murder of Mike Whitford on July 14, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois.
In addition, Justin Anaya and Alec Nathaniel Aguilar are alleged to have killed Gustavo Garcia on July 14, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. Justin Anaya, Alec Nathaniel Aguilar, and Keenan Seymour are alleged to have killed Manuel Salazar on November 24, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois.
The previously indicted defendants charged in this case are Manuel Diaz, 28, of Hammond, Indiana; Eduardo Diaz-Corral, 20, of Calumet City, Illinois; Ralph Mendez, Jr., 23, of Chicago, Illinois; Joseph Daniel Roggenkamp, 21, of East Chicago, Indiana; Gustavo Colunga, 26, of Hammond, Indiana; Joshua Harris-White, 25, of Chicago, Illinois; and Luis Colunga, 29, of Chicago, Illinois. In this superseding indictment, additional murders and crimes of violence are alleged to have been committed by several of the previously charged defendants. Specifically, Diaz-Corral and Diaz allegedly participated, respectively, in the murders of Paul Cruz on November 20, 2016, in Chicago, and Charles Berrios on September 30, 2017, in Hammond, Indiana.
The fourth superseding indictment is part of ongoing efforts to curb the activities of violent street gangs in the Northern District of Indiana.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If convicted, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
This case is the result of the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Chicago Police Department Criminal Enterprise Unit; the Hammond Police Department; the Cook County Sheriff’s Office; the Bartlett Police Department; the East Chicago Police Department; the Merrillville Police Department; the Hobart Police Department; the Lake County Sheriff’s Department; and the Calumet City Police Department, with assistance from the Lake County, Indiana Prosecutor’s Office, the Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office, the Indiana Department of Corrections, and the Illinois Department of Corrections. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph A. Cooley and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Toth, with prior assistance from the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section Trial Attorneys Robert Tully, Andrew Creighton, and Hans Miller.