Federal prosecutors have charged 23 members of the notorious Latin Kings gang — along with six other suspects — with drug trafficking, murder and other violent crimes carried out in South Florida.
All but three of the 29 defendants were arrested Tuesday or were already in state custody on other criminal charges, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Tuesday’s takedown was the result of a local, state and federal partnership aimed at dismantling violent criminal organizations that plague inner city areas of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
“We will continue to prosecute individuals whose violent criminal conduct infects our communities,” U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said.
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The members and associates of the Latin Kings, with local chapters in Florida and many other states, were charged in a 20-count indictment accusing them of running a violent racketeering conspiracy. According to authorities, the gang’s enterprise ran on the distribution of narcotics such as cocaine and molly, as well as burglary, robbery and identity theft.
The main indictment — which names Juan Alvarez, aka “King Juanma,” 30, of Miami, as the lead defendant — accuses the gang network of conspiring to commit multiple crimes and threats, including murder, kidnapping, witness tampering and retaliation. All the gang members go by similar nicknames, such as King Boom, King Chill and Queen Flaka.
Four other indictments charged illegal possession and sale of firearms, including 9mm semi-automatic guns.
Hugo Barrera, special agent in charge of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the partnership’s goal is “to end the gang violence that erodes the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”