|Founded||Founded in 1969 by Shakey|
|Formerly known as|
Milwaukee Kings 1970s-present; Maniac Milwaukee Kings 1992-1995
|Affiliations||Folk Nation — 1980 – 2000 or later;|
Maniac — 1992 – 1995;
SGD / La Tabla;
|Colors||Black and Orange|
|Primary ethnicities||Latino (Puerto Rican)|
|Symbols||Rounded Crown, King Head, Jack-o'-lantern, and 13-11|
King head with teardrop in right eye, circle with curved line horizontally through it, pitchfork 1980-1995
The Milwaukee Kings were started by Leureano “Shakey” Ramos at the end of the year 1969. Shakey started the Milwaukee Kings in the Wicker Park neighborhood at the intersection of Milwaukee and Wolcott/Wood. The Milwaukee Kings were started because Latin Kings in Wicker Park very aggressively tried to recruit Ramos and his family which caused Ramos and his family to declare war on the Latin Kings as they took part of their name as “Kings.” Being from Milwaukee Avenue they combined “Milwaukee” and “Kings” for the name. For the colors, the Milwaukee Kings stole the colors from the Warlords who also became a rival as Warlords and Latin Kings were strong allies. The Milwaukee Kings would feel the wrath of Latin Kings and Warlords for taking these colors and name but the Milwaukee Kings stood their ground and also viciously hit the Latin Kings and Warlords back making a name for themselves.
On the 4th of July 1971, a Milwaukee King was murdered in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood at the intersection of Kedzie and Division by Latin Kings, this murder infuriated Latin Disciples and Milwaukee Kings, then to make matters worse on January 18, 1972 the Latin Kings murdered Albert Hernandez, the leader of the Latin Disciples, but the killer was never caught. Milwaukee Kings and Latin Disciples knew the King that did it and served street justice by killing him in 1972.
Shakey, and another Milwaukee King co-founder Edwin Devilla did a drive up shooting of 5 Division and Mozart Latin Kings walking home from a party at the intersection of Thomas and California. This section’s leader “Kino” was shot and killed in this shooting along with “Fish.” “Shorty,” “Soul,” and another Latin King were injured. The shooting devastated Division and Mozart and they closed down after the shooting done by Shakey. Both Ramos and Devilla were later released and not charged with the shooting.
In the year 1979, Milwaukee Kings joined the Maniac alliance alongside the Maniac Latin Disciples since MKs had MLD relatives.
In the year 1980, Milwaukee Kings joined the Folk alliance in the prison system after the Spanish Gangster Disciple concepts were drawn up in prison. The Milwaukee Kings had strong relations to the Maniac Latin Disciples; therefore, they were accepted into SGD and the Folk alliance and became Latin Folks. In the year 1981, Milwaukee Kings turned Folks on the streets along with everyone else that was Folks.
The Milwaukee Kings moved off of Milwaukee Ave and landed at Huron and Noble moving them west of the Kennedy Expressway in the southern West Town area where the gang fought with the C-Notes.
During the 1980s, the Milwaukee Kings grew in numbers and gained notoriety fast. The MKs soon opened at Chestnut and Noble (Eckhart Park) in the Noble Square section of West Town. Before long, the MKs spread into the Logan Square neighborhood where they multiplied and took turf around Riis Park in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood from Fullerton Ave to Altgeld and Marmora to Meade “M-Town.”
In the 1980s, the Milwaukee King founder Leureano “Shakey” Ramos allegedly saved Black Gangster Disciple leader Larry Hoover’s life during an attempted assassination by the Black Disciples while both men were in prison. After this, Larry Hoover had extra respect for Shakey and promoted him to be the leader over the SGD alliance. The Maniac Latin Disciples who were previously the head of the SGD were not happy with this decision but all other organizations went along with it; therefore, MLDs had to as well.
Shakey was a very feared man behind bars and many both respected and feared him, even prison staff. Shakey was known to have anyone beaten or killed if they insulted him or crossed him. Shakey even once cut off the hand or fingers of a man and shipped the severed body part to the man’s mother in the mail. While in prison, Shakey would snap on the guards in prison and they would cower away. Shakey was also known for killing his own cousin “Lil Man,” a Maniac Latin Disciple member.
In the early 1990s, Milwaukee Kings were often roped into the famous disputes between Insanes and Maniacs but by 1995, a conflict erupted between MKs and MLDs causing the Milwaukee Kings to leave the Maniacs. After the MKs left the Maniacs they never joined any other family and always rode alone ever since.
In the year 1993, high ranking members “Kono” and “Jey Dogg” from the Huron and Noble section traveled to the Grant Works section of the suburb of Cicero at 21st and 51st Court and were given permission to begin a chapter in Cicero. Kono decided not to partake in the startup and instead Jey Dogg started the chapter himself as he flipped two members of the Latin Angels Ransum and Pelon. Fredo moved in from the Taylor Street area of the west side of Chicago and joined the CMKs. Cicero locals Doritos, M Dog, Roc and Sandman joined in 1993 and now there were 8 members. Hec Dog became the 9th and was younger than the rest but down for the nation. A short time later Mayo, Tank, Roger and Trench joined making the CMKs 13 deep. Some other recruits joined at times but when they realized the Cicero MKs were ready to heavily gangbang they couldn’t hack it and left. The 13 main members were a serious force to be reckoned with and became Cicero legends.
The MKs also got into it badly with La Raza and the Two Two Boys who were both fellow Folk Nation gangs.
After Huron and Noble closed down, Chestnut and Noble closed down and the MKs left southern West Town focusing more on Riis Park in Belmont Cragin. The Cicero MKs “CMKs” were now becoming a prime target of Cicero police which caused members to end up in jail and prison. More trouble came in October of 1994 when the Milwaukee Kings and Satan Disciples got into it in the city which led to members of the Satan Disciples killing a Milwaukee King gang member, now the MKs had another war with a Folk Nation gang. In the meantime in Cicero things got worse when Milwaukee Kings were now also at war with the Gangster Disciples. The Cicero MKs then wanted to establish a close alliance with the Two Sixs. Older members from Chicago warned the CMKs to not make this deal and it would bring trouble but the CMKs did not listen and let Two Sixs share their turf. Two Sixs were the bigger gang and expected the MKs to just disappear after a little while and this resulted in another interalliance gang war for the MKs. The only ally left the MKs had in Cicero were the MLDs but that would soon change.
In 1995, the Maniac Latin Disciples began imposing heavier taxes on their fellow Maniacs and also began infringing on their drug turf, this led to a major uprising within the Maniacs as some of the gangs began disbanding from the Maniac title. The Latin Lovers, Latin Jivers and Milwaukee Kings all left the Maniacs. The Latin Lovers turned Insane. The Jivers and MKs went their own way and went under nothing. The Latin Jivers then became the one and only allies the MKs had on the north side, in Cicero the MKs had no allies and this led to the demise of the CMKs. Too many incarcerations from Cicero police brought down the leadership of CMKs and the rest of CMK had too many gang wars to fight without their leadership and the operation shut down, Cicero turned out to be a bad investment.
The Milwaukee Kings have only lost one piece of territory, Shubert and Fairfield but all of “M-Town” has stayed in tact because MKs have ferociously defended it. The MKs have been known to be one of the more ruthless organizations that does not need allies to survive as long as police do not target them too heavily like they did in Cicero.
Shakey would remain the long time leader of the Milwaukee Kings until he was found dead at a closed gas station while scratching off lottery tickets in either 2002 or 2003. It was said he died of a drug overdose. At his wake he was given a Milwaukee King service by “Baby” which was given in style.
Please send in old school pics. 1970s or 1980s pics will be especially appreciated!
- What was the time line of leaders up to the year 2000?
- What year did Milwaukee Kings leave River North and open in Eckhart Park?
- What year did Shubert and Fairfield fall and why?
- What year did Cicero close in the 1990s?
FBI: Latin Kings street gang runs just like a business
The gang had a CEO, a constitution, and its own justice system. The constitution was required reading for thousands of gang members in Chicago.
The document came to light in the case of the man who federal prosecutors say was the "Supreme Inca" of the Latin Kings - essentially the gang's CEO.
In Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, Latin Kings control many corners.
Federal prosecutors say Fernando King was the gang's leader. They say in the decade before a raid, as many as 10,000 gang members reported to him.
A few turned government informant and, with the FBI's help, recorded him.
"When you act crazy, you don't know how to drink, we're going to beat you up, brother," King is heard saying on a wiretap.
On the recordings and in court documents, King comes off as a ruthless CEO struggling to keep control of his underlings.
King pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. Prosecutors, though, think he ordered or knew about countless shootings and murders.
On the tapes, King is heard complaining that not all of his soldiers are capable of killing to protect the gang's turf.
"We got soldiers, educate them, educate them in some way man... find the killer out the crowd man so you don't send the next poor kid who don't know how to kill to the next stupid mission... that's why the mob was so successful, bro. The mob was very picky, if you were the little stupid geek out the crowd. Ah, yeah you were, handle this, the paperwork man... but if you were the killer out the crowd you playin' with [expletive] Scarface right there, right? Nowadays you want everybody to be a killer," King is heard saying on the tapes.
The Latin King constitution details what's expected of disciples, including a willingness to kill or be killed for the good of the gang.
It lays out the gang hierarchy and its own system of justice. Members, for example, are not allowed to use heroin.
The FBI recordings capture King worrying that bar brawls and drunkenness are ruining the effectiveness of his street gang.
"People look at the Latin Kings as bad people, man. And we only respond, we only respond to negativity. We're approached in a negative way, we respond in a negative way," says King on the tapes.
The kill-or-be-killed mentality is so prevalent, the gang set up a funeral fund to pay the final expenses of slain Latin Kings.
As for alleged leader Fernando King, prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence him to the maximum: 40 years in a federal lockup. Sentencing was postponed Thursday and is now scheduled for next month.
Latin Kings (gang)
Hispanic and Latino street gang
Latin Kings flag
|Founded||1954; 67 years ago (1954)|
|Founding location||Humboldt Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Territory||The KMC faction is active in 31 U.S. states, and the Bloodline faction is active in 5 U.S. states. Presence also in Canada, Ecuador, Italy and Spain.|
|Ethnicity||Hispanic and Latino|
|Activities||Drug trafficking, assault, burglary, homicide, identity theft and money laundering|
|Allies||Black P. Stones|
Four Corner Hustlers
Dominicans Don't Play
Maniac Latin Disciples
La Raza Nation
Simon City Royals
Tiny Rascal Gang
United Blood Nation
|Notable members||Luis Felipe|
The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (ALKQN, ALKN, or LKN) is one of the largest Hispanic and Latinostreet and prison gangs worldwide. The gang was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1954.
King Motherland Chicago faction
The Latin Kings were founded in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago in 1954 by Ramon Santos as the Imperials, a Puerto Rican progress movement with the goal of overcoming racial discrimination. With the Latino community facing constant violence from Greek and Italian greaser gangs, the Imperials merged with various other Puerto Rican and Mexican street gangs to form the Latin Kings. The Latin Kings would later devolve into a criminal enterprise operating throughout the United States. There are two umbrella factions: the King Motherland Chicago (KMC) – also known as King Manifesto and Constitution – and Bloodline, formed in New York City in 1986. All members of the gang identify themselves as Latin Kings.
Latin Kings associating with the Motherland faction also identify themselves as "Almighty Latin King Nation" (ALKN); they make up more than 160 structured chapters operating in 158 cities in 31 states. The membership in Chicago is estimated to be 20,000 to 35,000.
The Chicago faction of the Latin Kings is recognized as the largest Hispanic street gang in the United States and one of the largest Chicago-based street gangs. Their greatest membership is within the United States, unlike MS-13 and 18th Street gang, whose greatest membership exists in Central and South America. The gang has more than 25,000 members in the city of Chicago alone and has organized chapters in numerous states and several Latin American and European countries.
The Bloodline Manifesto was founded by Luis "King Blood" Felipe in 1986 in the New York State Collins Correctional Facility. Latin Kings associating with New York State Bloodline chapter also identify themselves as the "Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation" (ALKQN). Membership is estimated to be as many as 7,500, divided among several dozen tribes operating in 15 cities in five states. New York State Bloodline Latin Kings share a common culture and structure with KMC and respect them as the Motherland, but not all chapters report to the Chicago leadership hierarchy.
In the early 1980s, to avoid imprisonment for his criminal activities in Chicago, Luis Felipe (a.k.a. King Blood) fled to New York. Soon after arriving in New York Felipe was arrested and convicted of murdering his girlfriend. In 1986, while in prison, Felipe started his own chapter of the Latin Kings known as the Bloodline. He designated himself as Inca and Supreme Crown of the state of New York. In 1995 Antonio Fernandez (a.k.a. King Tone) was designated Inca and Supreme Crown of New York State and New Jersey, and the ALKQN once again began a transformation. From 1986 to the internal power struggle that erupted in 1994, the ALKQN solidified its role as a gang through crimes such as murder, racketeering, and RICO Act charges. In 1991, Felipe was returned to prison after a short release for parole violations stemming from the receipt of stolen goods. However, Felipe continued to guide the ALKQN members, who now numbered about 2,000, both incarcerated and free. In 1994, with the rapid growth of the Latin Kings, an internal power struggle erupted and violence within the Kings ensued. Between June 1993 and February 1994, seven Latin Kings were murdered. Following the outbreaks of internal gang violence, Luis Felipe and 19 others were charged with murder and racketeering; the indictments ended in 1995 with 39 Latin Kings and 1 Latin Queen indicted under the RICO Act. The details of the charges against Felipe were later revealed: Felipe was charged with ordering the killing of William (Lil Man) Cartagena. Cartegena was taken to an abandoned Bronx apartment where he was strangled, decapitated, mutilated and his corpse set on fire. Although Felipe was in prison, the government later alleged he had ordered a TOS ("Terminate On Sight") to all Latin Kings for the murder of Cartagena. This letter and many others were how Felipe was initially linked to three murders on the streets of New York; testimony from former Kings was used as further evidence of the orders. The letters had been copied and stored by the NY Department of Corrections, who were not aware of the significance of the letters until a federal task force was formed that included NYPD homicide investigators, FBI agents, and DOC investigators. In 1996, following the trial of Luis Felipe, Antonio Fernandez, who was recently blessed as the Inca and Supreme Crown of New York State kneeled with other Latin Kings in front of the Federal District Court in Manhattan and is quoted as stating, "It's time for a fresh start ... Now they can't hold our past against us." 1996 is believed to be the beginning of the ALKQN's transformation from a street gang to a "street organization."
Latin Kings and Queens began appearing en masse at political demonstrations in support of the Latino community. To further its transformation and efforts to legitimize, the organization began to hold its monthly meetings (universals) at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Harlem. At this time, the membership of the Latin Kings is believed to have swelled to 3,000 incarcerated and 4,000 free. The monthly universals drew attendance of 500–600 regularly. Internal changes to the organization began to take place as Fernandez amended the ALKQN manifesto to include parliamentary elections and new procedures for handling inter-organizational grievances and removing death as a possible punishment, replacing it with "vanishing", the act of being banished from the movement. For the ALKQN, 1997 began with Felipe being sentenced to the harshest penalty passed down since World War II. Felipe was sentenced to 250 years in prison, the first 45 to be spent in solitary confinement. He was a close friend of criminal (YACS) member Pavle Stanimirovic writes about it as he witnessed this brutality in Solitary confinement. The other 39 members were sentenced to an average of 20 years in prison for their roles in the crimes. The year would bring further legal troubles as Fernandez and 31 others are arrested in a raid in the Lower East Side and charged with disorderly conduct. The Special Commissioner of Investigation for Schools soon after charges the ALKQN with infiltrating the school system; a school security guard with five years of service was dismissed on charges of unprofessional conduct for his association with the Latin Kings. The year came to a close with Fernandez being arrested in December by the FBI for domestic abuse. The pending charges against Fernandez were dropped in early 1998. Following the release of Fernandez, a joint operation of the FBI, New York City Police Department (NYPD), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), New York State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) comes to a close with the arrests of 92 suspected ALKQN members. The Latin King leadership insists over half of those arrested are not members. The operation, dubbed Operation Crown, cost the city over one million dollars and took 19 months to complete. Fernandez was released after four days on $350,000 bail, which was paid for by contributions from community members must mandatory pay their dues collected every week that goes into the "Caja" Box that the treasurer would be in charge of collecting. Over half of the arrested were charged with misdemeanors, other were charged with weapons possession and drug trafficking. Fernandez was eventually permitted, though on house arrest, to attend monthly universal meetings. It was during his time on house arrest that the Latin Queens underwent a shake up in leadership, dismissing many of the leaders in order to bring in more politically focused members.
The Latin Kings during this period begin to gain legitimacy. First, Lolita Lebrón, who was a member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, appointed the New York State ALKQN to protect her during a demonstration in front of the United Nations. Following the U.N. demonstration, Rafael Cancel-Miranda, a Puerto Rican nacionalista who spent 25 years in federal prison, attended a monthly universal. Before years' end, Adelfa Vera, Puerto Rican activist, attended a monthly universal and was given sacred ALKQN beads by the present leadership. Adelfa was praised during the meeting and stated "These kids are hope for our liberation struggle. I can die in peace, because we found the continuation." In 1998, Fernandez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell and distribute heroin. In 1999, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison, which he began serving at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas and was placed in solitary confinement. He was eventually transferred again and placed in general population. He has since been released.
The Latin Kings have a hierarchical organizational structure. They have numerous "chapters" or "tribes" around the country which adhere to a regional, state, and national system. Officers are supported by a "Crown Council" of the 5 Crowns Council members. The Council sets rules and regulations and holds disciplinary hearings.
The hierarchy rises to regional officers and ultimately to two supreme regional "Incas" based in Chicago. The heads of the entire criminal organization are known as "coronas". One retired detective said in 2004: "When you compare them to other street gangs like the Bloods and the Crips, none compare to the organization of the Latin Kings."
The Latin King colors are black and gold. Gang markings consist of a five- or three-point "sacred crown", writings of LK, ALK, ALKN, ALKQN abbreviations (or the whole words), and drawings of the Lion or the King Master. Latin King symbolism is usually accompanied with the name and number of the Tribe, region, or city of the gang. The Latin Kings are members of the People Nation alliance of gangs, and are therefore opposed to the rival Folk Nation gang alliance.
When any member believes that another member has violated a regulation, they begin the disciplinary process by submitting a Procedures for Violation Form. This form includes a variety of information about the allegation, including the violation, the statement of the accused, and members present or other witnesses. If the member is found to be guilty of the violation at their Crown hearing, they may be subject to a range of penalties depending on the severity of the offense:
- Probation – for a period ranging between two weeks and two months, can be imposed in addition to other punishments
- Fines (Multas) – may also be used as a way to recoup the expense of gang property when it is destroyed or lost by a member
- Stripping – the member is stripped of rank and titles, unlikely to ever rise to the previous rank again
- Suspension – the member is stripped of all offices and duties, is not permitted to wear the colors, and is addressed as a novice
- Community service – particular assignments made on a case-by-case basis
- B.O.S. (Beat on sight) – beating of undetermined length of time
- Three minute physical – three-minute beating by at least three members
- Five minute physical – five-minute beating by five members
- T.O.S. (Terminate on sight) – death
L.A. Kaufman wrote in the February 2015 issue of New York Magazine that the Kings had a "unique mixture of intense discipline, revolutionary politics and a homemade religion called 'Kingism'". He suggests that this makes "a potent mixture for troubled ghetto kids whose lives lacked structure and hope." Kingism is a blend of tribal gang rhetoric and religious mysticism. As one member put it, the Manifesto is "considered our Bible", and reading it is to go "from the darkness to the light".
The Latin Kings operate under strict codes and guidelines that are conveyed in a lengthy constitution, and they follow the teachings of the King Manifesto. According to the Manifesto, there are three stages or cycles of Nation life that constitute Kingism:
- The Primitive Stage: "That stage in life where the King warrior acts on impulse, executing his action without giving them the serious thought that they demand. A stage of immaturity where the King warrior's time is spent gang banging, getting high, and being recognized as big and bad."
- The Conservative Stage: "At this level the King warrior becomes tired of the primitive stage. He no longer wishes to participate in the senseless routine of gang fighting, hanging on the corner or being recognized as big and bad. Most often at this level the King warrior gets married and retires. It is inappropriate to call this stage maturity stage due to the fact that the King warrior at this time does not really become mature in the sense of maturity. Instead he becomes mummified or reaches a level of accepting life as it has been taught to him by the existing system that exploits all people of color-dehumanizes them and maintains them under the economic and social yoke of slavery."
- The New King Stage: "The stage of awareness and decision. The new King recognizes that the time for revolution is at hand. Revolution of the mind! The revolution of knowledge! A revolution that will bring freedom to the enslaved, to all Third World people as we together sing and praise with joy what time it is-it is Nation time! ... For him there are no horizons between races, sexes and senseless labels. for him everything has meaning, human life is placed above materialistic values ... When a man become a new King the will of the Nation becomes his will, for to be at variance with the Nation is one thing that cannot endure. The Almighty Latin King Nation requires wholehearted and complete devotion."
According to the Manifesto, "The New King no longer views the rival warrior as the cause of his ills; instead, he fights against the Anti-King System (social injustices and inequality)".
While originally the Latin Kings are thought to be a male organization, it eventually began to absorb women and give them an equal share. The Latin Queens constituted the female Queen Anubis and Queen Maat of the ALKQN.
The Latin Queen agenda is composed of self-respect, independence, family support, ethnic identity and self-empowerment. Seeking such goals has attracted a wide variety of females who had been drug addicted, victimized and/or neglected by families, spouses and partners. Sociologists studying the Latin Kings and Queens have observed the different methods in which both groups attempt to "reclaim and regulate" their environments. The Latin Queens are believed to focus more on their private space issues such as home life and protection and nurturing of their bodies, as opposed to the Latin Kings, who are more concerned with loss of public spaces in their own communities.
The evolution of the ALKQN has been viewed by outside sources as being assisted by the addition and greater role in which Queen Loki and Queen Vailor have played, exposing the ALKQN to a greater range of cross-class supporters than would have been possible prior to their integration. In countries such as Spain, Latin Queens are helping to legitimize the ALKQN through integration with government sponsored programs. In Catalonia, the 200 persons including Queen Tragedy and King Zeus and the rest of the Latin Kings and Queens tribe was designated as the Cultural Association of Latin Kings and Queens of Catalonia. The "cultural program" designation was bestowed through government sponsored programs to assist gangs with integration into society and is led by Latin Queen Melody, Erika Jaramillo.
Investigations and prosecutions
The Latin Kings in Connecticut started in the state's prison system in the late 1980s. The gang has over two-hundred members in the state.
Sixteen Latin Kings members, included the four highest-ranking members in the state, were arrested in Bridgeport and New Haven on June 30, 1994 and charged with conspiring to sell cocaine and heroin. Nelson Luis Millet, president and highest-ranking officer in the Connecticut Latin Kings, was sentenced to life in prison in January 1996.
An investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Gang Task Force and Hartford Police Department Vice and Narcotics Division into narcotics trafficking and associated violence in Hartford's South End by the Latin Kings resulted in two gang members being convicted for drug trafficking. Hector "Bebo" Salazar was sentenced to five years and nine months' imprisonment for distributing heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine on November 18, 2019, and Brian "Buddha" Matos was sentenced to four years and nine months' for trafficking cocaine and fentanyl on February 5, 2020.
The Latin Kings are one of the few organized street gangs operating in the state of Delaware. Latin Kings member Alejandro Rodriguez-Ortiz was charged with the July 2, 2008 murder of Angel Rivera – a fellow Latin King who was shot dead in Wilmington – as well as the murder of rival gang member Rodrigo Monroy, who was fatally shot on September 30, 2008.
On August 20, 2006, thirty-nine leading Latin Kings members – every known leader of the gang in Florida – were arrested after law enforcement officers raided a high-level meeting at a rented club in Tampa. The raid followed a fourteen-month investigation and resulted in the gang members being charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering.
Twenty-three Latin Kings members were indicted in south Florida in May 2015 on charges including racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking and illegal weapons possession. By January 2016, all twenty-three members of the gang – which operated in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties – had pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges.
On September 18, 1997, fourteen Latin Kings members and associates were charged with running a drug operation that distributed $6 million worth of crack and powder cocaine, marijuana and heroin throughout Chicago. Latin Kings North Side faction leader Gustavo "Gino" Colon was sentenced to life in prison as a result of the case.
Augustin Zambrano – a ranking "Corona" within the Latin Kings, making him the highest-ranking member outside of prison and responsible for overseeing the activities of factions of the gang – was among eighteen leading Latin Kings members charged with racketeering conspiracy as part of a federal indictment against the gang's hierarchy. Zambrano was convicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) of racketeering conspiracy and related charges involving narcotics trafficking and violence. He was sentenced to sixty years in prison on January 11, 2012. The gang's second-in-command, Vicente "Disciple Killer" (DK) Garcia, was sentenced to forty years in prison on related charges on February 11, 2013.
Thirty-four alleged Latin Kings were charged with racketeering conspiracy in Chicago on July 26, 2016. The gang's illegal activities were uncovered during a multi-year investigation conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
Twenty-one Latin Kings were imprisoned for up to thirty years for a racketeering conspiracy involving two murders; the December 2003 murder of Jonathan Zimmerman in Hammond and the May 2008 murder of Jose Cortez in East Chicago. The last of the gang members was sentenced on November 27, 2018.
Latin Kings member Darrick Vallodolid was convicted in May 2018 of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana. To support the conspiracy, Vallodolid murdered Victor Lusinski in Hammond on April 12, 2009. Lusinski was killed because Vallodolid thought he was a rival gang member. Vallodolid was sentenced to life in prison on November 25, 2019.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began investigating the Latin Kings' Maryland-based Royal Lion Tribe following the firebombing of a house in Rockville on January 8, 2008. After building a RICO case against the gang, the ATF and local police arrested eighteen members during a series of coordinated raids on November 19, 2009. One other was apprehended a month later after fleeing to New York. By March 2011, all nineteen defendants had either pleaded guilty or been convicted for the roles in a racketeering conspiracy.
Operation Dethrone was an investigation by the Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force, consisting of the FBI, the Chicopee Police Department, the Hampden County Sheriff's Department, the Holyoke Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, the Springfield Police Department, and the West Springfield Police Department. The first phase of the investigation, went after the Lawrence chapter of the ALKQN, was converted to an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force/High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area case involving numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. After the significant disruption of the Lawrence chapter in February 2004, information provided by cooperating defendants led to the significant disruption of the Springfield chapter in June 2005. 57 ALKQN members have been indicted.
On December 6, 2019 more than 45 Latin King (suspected) members, including its leader Michael Cecchetelli, were arrested by the FBI and other state and local agencies, in Massachusetts.
A multi-year joint federal and state investigation of the Holland Latin Kings (HLK) resulted in the prosecution of thirty-one of the gang's members. The investigation – which involved the ATF, Michigan State Police (MSP) the Holland Police Department – became public on July 19, 2012, when over a hundred state and federal officers simultaneously executed search warrants at over fifteen residences and a business in Holland, which were all linked to the HLK. Of the thirty-one gang members charged, twenty-nine pleaded guilty to racketeering offenses.
A year-long investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Saint Paul Police Department (SPPD) known as Operation Wild Kingdom culminated in the arrests of twenty-six Latin Kings members and associates on federal narcotics and firearms trafficking charges during a series of arrests carried out across the Twin Cities area on March 7, 2006.
Forty-seven Latin Kings members, including eleven holding senior leadership positions, were charged between October 2002 and May 2003 in connection with a New Jersey State Police (NJSP) investigation dubbed Operation Catapult. The investigation successfully tracked and documented Latin King activity in five counties, and resulted in charges related to the planned attempted murder of a rival gang member, the sale of heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana, the theft and resale of stolen automobiles and other stolen property, and the possession, use and sale of prohibited assault weapons.
Four leaders of the Latin Kings in Newark were among fifteen people indicted on racketeering charges on July 13, 2017 as part of Operation Peddling Misery, an investigation by the NJSP and Division of Criminal Justice that targeted a drug distribution enterprise that was dealing large quantities of heroin and crack cocaine in the city. Japhet "King Japhet" Lopez, Kiele "King Forty" Lopez and Carlos "King Future" Rodriguez pleaded guilty to racketeering. On June 29, 2018, Japhet Lopez was sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment, Kiele Lopez was sentenced to seven years', and Rodriguez was sentenced to eight years'.
Twenty members and associates of the Latin Kings were charged on June 21, 1994 with various crimes including the murders of at least seven of their own members. The arrests resulted from a four-month investigation by the FBI and the New York Police Department (NYPD).
Carlos Gil, "Warlord" or enforcer, of a Latin Kings chapter in Sunset Park, Brooklyn was convicted on May 11, 2007 for the murder of Jorge Rodriguez, a member of a Flatbush, Brooklyn-based Latin Kings chapter who was shot and killed on October 14, 2001 for associating with another gang in violation of the Latin Kings' rules. Gil was sentenced to life in prison.
In December 2011, thirteen Latin Kings members were indicted by a federal grand jury in Greensboro for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise. Nine were convicted of various crimes under the RICO act in August 2013, including Jorge Peter "King Jay" Cornell – founder of the Latin Kings in North Carolina – who was sentenced to serve twenty-eight years in prison.
A dozen Latin Kings members were among thirty-four people indicted on drug charges following a year-long investigation – called Operation Royal Flush – by the FBI, Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) and Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office. A series of raids coinciding with the indictments led to the arrests of twenty-nine people in Cleveland on August 13, 2009.
An eighteen-month investigation in York County, known as Operation Sunrise, resulted in the arrests of more than eighty people, including members of the Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings, and the seizure of heroin and cocaine with a street value of more than $300,000, 43 vehicles, seven guns, and more than $34,000 cash in February 2013. Fifteen Latin Kings leaders were imprisoned as a result.
Twenty three people, including three members of the Latin Kings, were indicted in March 2019 as part of an investigation into a drug ring in Berks County. In addition to narcotics offenses, the trio were also charged with conspiring to shoot a rival.
An investigation by the FBI into gang activity in Rhode Island found that the Providence chapter of the Latin Kings, made up of approximately 100 members, has been active in narcotics trafficking, gunrunning, extortion and murder since at least September 1994.
Eric "King E" Thomas, leader of the Rhode Island chapter of the Latin Kings, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine in December 2019. On August 11, 2020, Thomas pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting that in August 2019, he conspired with others to purchase cocaine from members of the Latin Kings in New Bedford, Massachusetts for resale. Days later, on September 4, 2019, a co-conspirator was captured in a video recording purchasing 186 grams of cocaine from members of the New Bedford chapter in a deal facilitated by Thomas.
In January 2016, Latin Kings member Juan "Chino" Rodriguez was sentenced to serve four-to-fifteen years in prison after being convicted of carrying out a drive-by shooting that injured a man in St. Johnsbury on July 15, 2014.
John Guerrero, a member of the Latin Kings' Boston, Massachusetts chapter, was sentenced to thirteen years' imprisonment on February 14, 2020 after pleading guilty to the distributing at least 2.8 kilograms of crack cocaine in the Franklin County area and for trafficking at least thirty illegally purchased firearms from Vermont to the Boston area.
Thirty-three members of the Latin Kings in Milwaukee were charged in a RICO indictment on June 19, 1998. According to the indictment, the gang members were responsible for nine murders, twenty-one attempted murders, nine robberies, three arsons or attempted arsons, five kidnappings and drug dealing over an eleven-year period. Gang-related violence escalated on Milwaukee's South Side after the indictments as a perceived lack of leadership in the Latin Kings prompted rival gangs to attempt takeovers.
Another police crackdown on the Milwaukee faction resulted in forty nine Latin Kings members being indicted on October 12, 2005 on federal racketeering charges for crimes that include four murders, 38 attempted murders and widespread drug trafficking.
Latin Kings member Timothy Vallejo was sentenced to life in prison on January 26, 2010 after being convicted of racketeering and the murder of Oak Creek resident Kevin Hirschfield outside a Cudahy gas station in 2003.
Four people were injured after Latin Kings members attacked a former member at a subway station in Toronto on 22 June 2007. A thirteen-year-old who was left partially paralyzed as a result of being stabbed.
Nine members of the Latin Kings in Toronto were arrested in October 2009 under the Immigration Act and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act after a two-year police sting known as Project Royal Flush. Four Latin Kings members, including Ecuadoran citizen Flavio Mauricio Reyes-Criollo who founded the Canadian branch of the gang in 2003, were ordered deported from Canada in July 2010.
The Latin Kings in Spain were founded in Madrid in February 2002 by Ecuadorian national Eric Javier Vara Velastegui. Branches then followed in Barcelona, Valencia and Murcia. Membership is predominantly Ecuadorian, although other Latin American and Spanish youths have also been recruited. According to a report by the Madrid government commission, there are approximately one-hundred active members and six-hundred associates in the city. In Spain, the Ñetas are the main rivals of the Latin Kings. Such Latin American gangs spread to Spain as a result of mass deportations from the United States of Latin American immigrants with criminal records. The Latin Kings were registered as a cultural association in Catalonia in September 2006.
Eric Javier Vara Velastegui received a forty-year prison sentence for rape, violent assault and kidnapping in June 2006. In February 2011, Velastegui had an additional four years added to his sentence after being convicted of directing the gang from prison, while lieutenants Jose Fabricio Icaza and Maria Torres were sentenced to three-and-a-half years' and two years' imprisonment, respectively.
The inner circle of the Latin Kings in Madrid was dismantled when fifty-four members were arrested during a police operation carried out in February 2010. A substantial amount of documentation relating to the gang and its organization, as well as gang paraphernalia such as necklaces to denote rank within the gang, black and gold flags, neckscarves and rings, was also confiscated.
Five key members were ordered deported from Madrid in February 2015.
Twenty-three members were arrested in the Barcelona metropolitan area by Mossos d'Esquadra on 10 June 2015, suspected of organized crime membership, drug trafficking, assault and extortion.
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- ^ abSPAIN: Latin Kings Gang a “Cultural Association” in Barcelona Tito Drago, Inter Press Service (21 September 2006)
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|Founded||Founded in 1954 by Ramon Santos in or near Near West SideWest Town: Wicker ParkSouth Lawndale: Little Village|
|Affiliations||People Nation — 1978 – 2000 or later;|
|Colors||Black and Gold|
|Symbols||3 Point Crown, 5 Point Crown, Lion, and King Head|
3 point crown – 1960s-1978; 5 point crown – 1978-present, lion, king head with a crown
The beginning of the history of the Latin Kings goes back to the year 1954 in the Near West Side neighborhood at the intersection of Laflin and Van Buren. A young Cuban youth that was raised in Puerto Rico, Ramon Santos, put together a club of three boys (including himself) close to his age that included his step brother “Fast Eddie” who was Puerto Rican. The club was named the “Imperials” and was formed to defend against racial strife the boys faced against racist Italian, Irish and Greek gangs in the area that had deep anti-Puerto Rican sentiments. The Hispanic community was also bullied buy larger black gangs like Clovers, Imperial Chaplins and Egyptian Cobras. 1954 brought about many new gangs in the neighborhood like Egyptian Cobras, Taylor Street Dukes and Ambrose; therefore, with all these new enemies the Imperials needed to form to protect the Hispanic community because no other group of Hispanics was up for it. The Imperials were not big on fighting other Hispanics they mainly focused on black and white groups. Imperials also expanded onto Madison and Paulina in the same neighborhood as this group of Imperials also fought black and white gangs.
The club quickly grew to include five members including King Papo and three of the other four members were Eddie “King Tiger” Rodriguez a Puerto Rican, and “Fast Eddie” a Puerto Rican and Joe Gunn a Mexican youth. Soon after that four more joined that included 17-year-old Julio “Compa” Munoz. The main symbol for the Imperials was a crown which gave birth to the crown the Latin Kings use today accept back then the crown only had three points.
The Imperials were a reclusive organization that mostly moved in silence to avoid the press and they did not seek social services like many other gangs in the neighborhood did at Hull House or other club houses.
Starting in the mid-1950s and escalating by the end of the decade many Puerto Rican families were fleeing the Near West Side community and the Old Town neighborhood when the Carl Sandburg Village was built over the “La Clark” Puerto Rican settlement. La Clark and “La Madison” settlements began to clear out in 1959 as both settlements began moving into Wicker Park, East Village, West Humboldt Park, East Humboldt Park, Uptown, Lincoln Park and Lakeview. There was also major construction on the expressway system as work on the Eisenhower (290) expressway directly tore Laflin and Van Buren in half. Santos moved away from Laflin and Van Buren and came to Leavitt and Schiller in 1959 and some Imperials came with him. Other members would move into West Humboldt Park by Ohio and Kedzie. Ramon Santos, now known as “King Papo” moved to Leavitt and Schiller right next to the playground at Albert R. Sabin elementary school located at 2216 W Hirsch St. The Imperials were the first Hispanic gang in Wicker Park or on the whole north side of Chicago in history! We’ll pick up on this part of the story a little further down but first we need to look at another part of the story.
Another manifestation was the creation of a gang of Mexican youths called the “MarKings” that were formed at the intersection of 24th and Marshall Boulevard (The Boulevards) in the Marshall Square section of South Lawndale in 1962. The name MarKings comes from the street name of Marshall Boulevard, basically saying they are the kings of Marshall Boulevard or Marshall Boulevard Kings. The MarKings soon grew to have about 15-30 members as they fought rivals such as the Gay Lords. The very young MarKings opened the Newberry and Roosevelt section in the Near West Side neighborhood in 1962 known as the “Little Markings.” The MarKings consisted of Mexican youths that were bullied and tormented by white greaser clubs in the area that were upset with the new Mexican migration into the neighborhood, this prompted the Mexican youths to stick together that were willing to fight for their existence in this community. Once again this group was effected by the major expressway construction that displaced many Mexican families. When the Marshall Boulevard Kings arrived here not far away from the Imperials, Taylor Jousters and even a group of Latin Counts and other legendary groups. Perhaps this was the first time the Imperials and MarKings became acquainted.
The very first Mexican families moved to Little Village in 1962 and were so few in numbers they often didn’t know there were other Mexican people in the neighborhood but the ones that did connect were able to come together against some forms of discrimination and this was prevalent for the Mexican youths at 24th and Marshall that were struggling just to attend school at Harrison High School and John Spry Elementary School. In 1963 more Mexican families came to Little Village but still in smaller numbers making the youth still heavily outnumbered. More Mexican families were arriving just as evictions were being handed out in the Little Italy section of the Near West Side neighborhood as construction of the new University of Illinois at Chicago was underway. Some of the gangs in existence besides Gaylords and Outlaws were: Supreme Cliques that wore black and orange colors, the 26th Street Jokers that wore black and purple and the 23rd Street Boys. The Taylor Sharks were in the neighborhood too as an Italian gang that originated on Taylor Street that migrated into Little Village because of the UIC construction evictions.
In the same year of 1962, Puerto Rican migration increased significantly in the Wicker Park, East Village, east and west Humboldt park areas because of highway construction in the Near West Side and Lincoln Park neighborhood renewal, these two events handed out many evictions to Puerto Rican families. This new wave angered much of the white population of these neighborhoods causing the greasers to focus more of their attention on groups of Puerto Rican youths instead of fighting other greaser gangs as much. Puerto Rican youths began to form street gangs to protect themselves against their hostile neighbors as they were often brutally beaten for just walking down the street and going to the store. Several groups like the Young Sinners, Young Lords, Spanish Kings, Scorpions, Hirsch Street Lords, Latin Angels, Paragons and the legendary Skulls formed in 1962. As these new groups formed the Imperials made the decision to begin recruiting young members starting a new generation of Imperials bringing in some legendary members like Jose “Cadillac Joe” Rivera for example. The new wave of Imperials were posted at Kedzie and Ohio in the southern part of West Humboldt Park and Leavitt and Schiller in Wicker Park. West Humboldt Park also experienced the beginning of a Puerto Rican migration wave from the Near West Side and Lincoln Park sparking more racial animosity.
The Skulls were a prominent Puerto Rican club that was put together by Andy in the East Village neighborhood in 1962. The Skulls were based at Chicago Avenue and Noble in Eckhart Park. The Skulls were in direct conflict with the notorious Gaylords that also fought for Eckhart Park. Perhaps the Skulls had not become successful in that battle and had to relocate to Leavitt and Schiller to join the Imperials. By that time Phil was in charge of the Skulls and relocated them to Leavitt and Schiller in the early part of the year 1964. When the Skulls arrived they began planning alongside the Imperials for a unity and a plan to protect the Puerto Rican community.
On Friday May 15th, 1964, on a sunny Friday afternoon several Puerto Rican gang members and a few full Puerto Rican gangs like the Imperials, Skulls and some others met in Humboldt Park in the actual park. It needed to be done because all around Humboldt Park and West Town young Puerto Rican youths were being bullied and beaten as they walked across town, got on the school bus, walked to the store and were being beaten and tormented in school as bullies shook them down for their lunch money. I have heard that King Papo may not have attended this meeting in the park, that may have been because he was not the overall founder but instead the idealist that used his structure and beliefs from the Imperials to pass down to the Latin Kings. Santos created the Imperials with much of the same principles as the Latin Kings and much of the earliest Latin King ways and beliefs were based upon what Santos created when he started the Imperials in 1954. This is perhaps why many regard Santos as the founder of the Latin King nation but in reality it appears he was just the first nation leader and the one that provided the ideals for the nation. The credit for the founding perhaps belongs to several individuals and not just Santos. It is legend that Phil of the Skulls and Freddy were the directors of this meeting in the park as Imperials from Leavitt and Schiller, Skulls from Leavitt and Schiller and Imperials from Kedzie and Ohio put this together. It could have been possible there were two meetings that happened that year, one maybe just between Ohio and Kedzie and Leavitt and Schiller to create the Latin King name and then maybe a second that invited other groups. Either way you want to slice it, it all came to be in 1964 right before the summertime.
The first three principles the original Latin Kings lived by was and still is:
- Protect our families
- Protect our neighborhoods
- Protect each other
A very short time later in 1964, perhaps right before the summer, King Papo himself visited Little Village to meet with the MarKings, Jokers, 23rd Street Boys and Supreme Cliques. Residents that knew gangs in the area recall that day Ramon came to the neighborhood from the northside to combine forces with the Little Village clubs. Some of the earliest original big time Latin Kings from 24th and Marshall were: Scarface, Dino, Don Juan, Black Sal, White Sal, Crazy Man and Little Boy. Don Juan was given leadership of the Boulevard Latin Kings. 24th and Marshall was a prime location for the headquarters because it would allow children to attend Harrison High School and Spry Elementary especially since many kids were bussed in from the Near West Side in various gangs from outside the neighborhood. This also allowed for Latin Kings to protect Hispanic kids that would be victimized by the Gaylords that ran Harrison High back then.
Now the Latin Kings organization was born that was the combo of the Imperials, Jokers, 23rd Street Boys, Supreme Cliques and MarKings and the Skulls. Even though 23rd Street Boys, 26th Street Jokers and Supreme Clique were mostly white groups they still mostly joined the Latin Kings as much of the earliest Little Village Latin Kings were white due to the fact the neighborhood was majority white back then. This was a brotherhood designed for members to protect each other from rivals that threatened their right to exist. Up north the Latin Kings were mostly Puerto Rican and this was the much larger branch and the north side was the main headquarters for the whole nation in the beginning. In the south in Little Village by the 24th (The Boulevards) they were mostly Mexican with many whites since most of this neighborhood was still white well into the 1970s. The Latin Kings would fight viciously and spill blood when picked on by greaser clubs or other bullying groups; they also dealt with crooked and racist police officers that picked on Puerto Rican youths. The Latin King name soon spread fear into many enemies out there and if you wanted to go against the Latin Kings, you better be ready for a nasty fight.
Leavitt and Schiller became the headquarters for all northern Latin Kings and was directly supervised by King Papo and many youths attending Sabin Elementary were joining the Latin Kings as they were sick of being attacked by greasers. The youths had always looked up to the Imperials in the earlier 60s now they could join as Latin Kings by 1964. Freddy Avilez opened the first West Humboldt Park Latin King section at Kedzie and Ohio. In the mid-1960s all Latin Kings city-wide, north side, south side and west side had to report to Leavitt and Schiller as this was the first Latin King headquarters. Since King Papo headed Leavitt and Schiller and came to the Boulevards to start that branch he was often considered the sole founder; however, that is not all the way accurate but he was indeed a major figure in those days. Papo was full of charisma and garnered great respect, he would often walk the streets with up to a hundred Latin Kings following him making him a legendary figure.
King Papo came to the Lincoln Park neighborhood in 1964 and helped start the Armitage and Dayton chapter which moved to Armitage and Sheffield by 1969. This chapter was needed because once again Puerto Rican youths were being bullied and beaten by greasers and other groups and harassed by police in this community that was not friendly to Puerto Ricans in these days. The community was pushing urban renewal heavily as a way to force out Puerto Rican families and this was protested by the Puerto Rican community but before it became a political fight that the Young Lords would later organize the Latin Kings and Young Lords took it to the streets against those that chose to push violence as a way to encourage families to leave. At this turf the Latin Kings fought with Young Lords and looked down on them as Latin Kings allied up with the Paragons of Halsted and Armitage.
The Latin Kings opened a branch in 1964 at the intersection of Noble and Cortez in the East Village neighborhood. This branch was started by Michael Perez and this group instantly clashed with the Harrison Gents that formed in this area in the same year. The Noble and Cortez Kings also battled with the Gaylords in this area. In 1965 the Noble and Cortez group was left to the Junior Latin Kings as the Seniors moved to Ashland and Cortez. This branch lasted until 1972 when many of the members moved to the Beach and Spaulding branch closing this territory. This was a very legendary section until it closed.
The Latin Kings also began the Winthrop and Ainslie chapter in the Uptown neighborhood in the year 1964 which became a notorious chapter for many years to come.
Latin Kings would also open a branch in East Humboldt Park at Maplewood and Wabansia street in 1964. Latin Kings also opened a legit sandwich shop at Rockwell and Hirsch that sold candy, pop and chips and was across from Von Humboldt School. This shop had a club house on the second floor above the shop. Legend has it that this section of Latin Kings allowed the Maniac Latin Disciples to operate peacefully when they formed in 1966 which would help the Disciples grow and flourish until both organizations went to war in later years. Julio “Compa” Munoz was in charge of this section until he was imprisoned in the later 70s and this section closed soon after in 1979 moving to Kedzie and Wabansia in West Humboldt Park.
Another branch that started possibly as early as 1964 was the first Bridgeport chapter at 27th and Normal and opened a club house at address 2702 South Normal Street. The club house was easily identifiable due a spray painted “Latin King” wording on the door. This chapter only lasted 5 or 6 years because 8 members were convicted in the court case of People vs. Galvan in which those prosecuted may have actually been innocent of the charges depending upon how the case is looked at. The chapter closed after the court case until a new chapter was born at 33rd and Morgan in the late 1970s.
Another south side Latin King branch that started in 1964 was the 57th and Halsted branch in the Englewood neighborhood. This was a small Puerto Rican enclave and the youths had problems with white greaser gangs attacking them and black gangs like the Devil’s Disciples. This branch also fought with the Village Sharks then a little later the Emerald Knights. Before this branch closed in 1971 their main Hispanic enemy was the Emerald Knights.
When the Latin Kings first began in 1964, they hung out regularly at a restaurant called “Mom & Pops” that was right across from Sabin Elementary School near Leavitt and Schiller. This restaurant had a jukebox. Very soon after the Latin Kings opened their very first club house two buildings north of the restaurant in a basement that they called “PETES.” It was in this very club house where the first Latin King crown was drawn up in the fall of 1965 and where the Latin Queens were founded that year.
In the West Town and Humboldt Park areas the Latin Kings faced many enemies of both Puerto Rican and white decent; however, some of their worst rivalry was with white gangs especially in their earliest days in the mid-60s. Starting in 1958 C-Notes, Gaylords, Chi-West, P.V.Ps and Lazy Gents often bullied Puerto Rican youths. Granted, alongside Puerto Rican migration came drug dealers and other criminal elements; however, this was not the fault of Puerto Rican people it was the result of undesirables following a trail of poverty. Many groups of the white gangs blamed the Puerto Rican populace and became nasty about it. The group that was the largest and most notorious was the Gaylords of West Town. This group like the other white groups roamed all over West Town and Humboldt Park starting trouble. Gaylords especially loved to haunt Humboldt Park (The actual park) and jump on groups of Hispanic kids giving them nasty beatings. Many Puerto Rican people referred to the Gaylords as the Polish Mafia due to their size and some sociopathic behavior of some of their members. One of the very reasons the Latin Kings formed was because of the Gaylords as the two gangs became very bitter rivals in these early days.
As early as 1964, the Latin Kings took in any race. You could be white, black, Asian, Dominican, Cuban, Honduran, Middle Eastern, it didn’t matter as long as you were willing to fight for the cause and someone in the club could vouch for you as a good guy and down brother. Since 1964 the Latin King nation has always been for all races, creeds and colors but has also always been for fighting for the struggles of the Hispanic people. In the earliest days the most frequently seen other races to join the Latin Kings were whites and blacks who had some of the most loyal soldiers in the nation.
In the mid-1960s the Latin Kings still held a chapter in the Near West Side community in the Newberry Street area. Newberry and Roosevelt closed in 1965 when the new UIC campus was built right at that intersection; therefore, Kings from Newberry moved south on Newberry or north up Newberry by Taylor Street.
The Latin Kings were a sophisticated group that was ran by adult men, some as old as 30 years old by the mid-1960s; having older members that knew how to network and get around the city allowed the organization to grow into new communities with ease upon inception and the Latin Kings turned out smaller gangs and converted them into Latin Kings making the empire grow larger. Some of the men that were original Latin Kings were immigrants from Puerto Rico and Mexico and some may have even had gang ties or ties to revolutionary groups in their original country.
In the year 1964, the Latin Kings bopped heads with one of their future biggest allies the Young Lords and war ensued that lasted two years until the Young Lords became passive activists and were no longer interested in neighborhood control. That two-year war came to an end on June 12, 1966 when the Division street riots were happening. A Puerto Rican man was gunned down unjustly by Chicago Police so Young Lords and Latin Kings stormed the streets rioting against the police over human rights. King Papo, Eddie LB, Bronco and King Tiger along with the Young Lords drew an alliance on this day and from there on became allies once again. It was this very day on June 12, 1966 that the Latin Kings first made the news all over the United States and perhaps globally. This enhanced recruitment and also public awareness and of course law enforcement became more aware of the Latin Kings.
From the beginning when Latin Kings started in 1964, they had a grand vision to protect their communities and all Hispanic communities city wide; however, they were met with resistance from other Hispanic groups. Latin Kings gave chances to these groups to join their ranks or to at least agree to following certain basic rules of conduct in the communities. The nature of many gangbangers is to simply not follow authority and to be rebellious, so most clubs rejected the Latin Kings and defied them. Latin Kings wanted these clubs to conform because many of these other clubs were disorganized, drug addicted, hung with undesirables, were bullies or were disrespectful to their communities or they were downright weak groups that would not be productive enough to protect their communities. The Latin Kings aimed to clean up much of this disorganization and asked nicely at first but they were often spit in the face over it and this brought about the 1966 conquest of the West Town and Humboldt Park areas to clean up undesirables.
One of the first gangs the Latin Kings took apart was the Scorpions (not Latin Scorpions) of Wicker Park from Western and Hirsch. This group was led and founded by Sleepy who was killed by Latin Kings in 1965 forcing the group to disband.
In 1966 the Latin Kings dismantled the Latin Angels from Maplewood and Division in East Humboldt Park.
In 1966 even though the Latin Kings were on good terms with the Paragons from Lincoln Park they became upset with the arrival of the Junior Paragons in East Humboldt Park at Washtenaw and Potomac; therefore, the Latin Kings destroyed them.
In 1966 the Latin Kings advanced on the Hirsch Street Lords of West Humboldt Park at Spaulding and Hirsch and broke up their club. This gave the Latin Kings leverage to advance up Kedzie to Kedzie and Division as they were able to leave Ohio and Kedzie behind. This was a pivotal territorial grab that would advance the Latin Kings toward Beach and Spaulding.
In 1966 the Latin Kings also conquered the Young Sinners. One of the Sinner’s leaders named Charlie came to Pete’s clubhouse and challenged the Latin Kings all by himself. Although this move was gutsy it proved to be dangerous and costly. Charlie was beaten so severely he was hospitalized for two months. The founder Nelson F also known as Tarzan then disbanded the club.
In the aftermath of the 1966 conquests the Latin Kings were now able to solidify territory in northern West Humboldt Park at the intersection of Beach and Spaulding which became the legendary motherland chapter in 1967.
When Beach and Spaulding opened as Ohio and Kedzie closed, governance of the Latin Kings was transferred from Leavitt and Schiller to Beach and Spaulding as Batman was running Beach and Spaulding. Now all all Latin King sections city-wide needed to report to this new section. Beach and Spaulding became to most legendary north side section in the city was some of the heaviest hitters in the nation. This territory is regarded as the motherland because of the great significance and because this section is still active presently. The first governing chapter of Leavitt and Schiller and the Ohio and Kedzie branch are often forgotten motherlands because they were vacated long ago but history should not be forgotten that it all actually started at these two sections in the mid-60s.
Pilsen was opened in 1968 when Latin Kings turned out the Coulter Counts gang and converted them into the Coulter Kings Latin King branch at the intersection of Coulter and Damen.
In 1969, Latin Kings migrated in Logan Square alongside Puerto Rican migration into this community. In the this community Latin Kings started clashing with Gaylords and Imperial Gangsters.
By the late 1960s the Boulevards Latin Kings had pushed out the rest of the Gaylords that hadn’t already signed up to fight in the Vietnam war. The Latin Kings completely dominated Little Village and the only rival that could truly contend with them where the Ridgeway Lords (not rivals in the 60s or earlier 70s) and to a lessor extent Ambrose and Satan Disciples (SDs were mainly in Marshall Square section).
In the early 1970s Latin Kings opened up territory on 79th Street in the South Chicago neighborhood due to newly arriving Mexican youths being bullied as the neighborhood’s Mexican population began to grow. This branch would move to 89th and Muskegon in 1981 and would explode in size to become a permanent fixture in the South Chicago neighborhood.
The northern branch of Latin Kings became very much politically active and began working with neighborhood renewal projects and graffiti cleanup programs, this was a way for Latin Kings to not only protect the communities they lived in but to help improve them.
Activism also took a revolutionary route, especially at Leavitt and Schiller. It was at this location that Latin Kings were working with the Puerto Rican extremist group FALN and they were hiding them at this location. Once the authorities came after the FALN, the Latin Kings cut off ties with FALN and had to abandon Leavitt and Schiller, King Papo left that location and most of the main members moved to Beach and Spaulding, the Insane Unknowns now took over Leavitt and Schiller after the big players of the Latin Kings departed in 1971. Latin Kings would return in 1978 to this intersection.
Since their formation in 1964 Latin Kings had always been involved in the drug trade; however, the drug trade did not run their organization just like all other gangs in the 1960s. Latin Kings also took pride in flushing out unauthorized drug dealers in their communities by robbing those dealers. King Papo himself used to rob heroin dealers alongside Spanish Lord leader Big Gato; however, the two men tended to indulge in the heroin they snatched until the both developed addictions. King Papo soon fell into an addiction entering the 1970s and much of the Latin Kings had also fell into addiction which caused the organization to face possible extinction as the sections became more disorganized.
In June of 1971, Raul Gonzales and another high-ranking north side member of the Latin Kings Gustavo “Hercules” Colon caught court murder charges back to back.
According to court documents, on the night of June 20, 1971 Raul “BK” “Rayo” Gonzales was hanging out at the intersection of 24th and Sacramento in the Marshall Square neighborhood when he spotted Ernesto Villagomez in a car with several other people. Gonzales then fired bullets into the car and killed the driver causing the car to crash into a building, his intended target survived and only the driver that was shot was killed, the driver was Villagomez’ uncle. Villagomez had been known to hang out with both Latin Kings and Bishops gang members. Latin Kings and Bishops were rival gangs at that point in time and BK did not like Ernesto hanging out with Bishops, especially after Ernesto wore a shirt that said “Bishops” on it. One day outside of Harrison High School BK confronted Villagomez and told him to not wear Bishop clothing, when Ernesto wised off to BK, BK slapped him across the face, Ernesto then threatened revenge on another date, it was at that point that BK marked Villagomez, and on the night of June 20th he killed Villagomez’ uncle as he was driving Ernesto and others home from a dance. The other car load in front of the uncle’s car was a car full of Bishops gang members and according to court documents those witnesses were affiliated with the Bishops, Gonzales was then charged with murder and sent to prison (People vs. Gonzales, 1974).
According to court documents, on the night of June 27, 1971 Gustavo “Hercules” “Hippie” Colon was hanging out at the intersection of Leavitt and Potomac in the Wicker Park neighborhood that night. According to court documents Colon and Florentine “Brillo” Menendez spotted Glenn Burr and his sister and friends walking down the street. Menendez then shouted, “Shoot that black mother fucker!” and pulled a gun on the group of five according to court documents, Glenn Burr then took off running but Colon then shot him three times in the back, killing him. Colon then walked up to Verlinda Hamilton and put the gun to her head and gave her a big smile then pulled the trigger; however, the gun jammed. Supposedly the shooting happened because Glenn Burr was a Vice Lord in Latin King territory Colon was not arrested for the crime until August of 1971, Brillo was said to be dead by the time arrests were to be made, Colon was then charged with murder and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison (People vs. Colon, 1974).
By 1972, the Latin Kings were facing a major crisis. Starting in the late 1960s some key members were getting into using heavy drugs like Heroin. There were also many members that were not focused on tasks at hand and much of the LKN was disorganized, which was a major threat to leadership especially since they were trying to organize a sophisticated syndicate. Amid several gang wars and now with law enforcement breathing down their necks, there was a real threat to the very existence of the Latin King Nation and slip ups by members could not be tolerated anymore; it was time for a constitution to keep the entire organization in line. Now that Hercules and Rayo were incarcerated for murder, they had an immediate meeting behind prison walls with Manuel Diaz Rodriguez, Johnny Martinez, Eddie, Dino, and Sun Child. These 7 Latin Kings drew up the “Kings Manifesto” which was literature that was to guide and organize Latin Kings in the right direction in order to ease operations and maintain order. One of the biggest guidelines was no use of drugs unless it was Marijuana.
After the Manifesto was written in 1972, King Papo voluntarily stepped down due to his heroin addiction along with Carmelo leaving Hercules to run the north side and northwest side operations while Rayo ran southwest and south side operations. Other members were out casted for their behavior and ejected from the organization to be made examples of how this behavior was now not acceptable. All addicted Latin Kings were ordered to kick their Heroin habits immediately and turn in all bags of their Heroin, if they did not, severe consequences would be suffered. It did not matter about the withdraw effects; you had to just stop using…no Exceptions!
Now that Rayo had become leader of the south side, he was now referred to the nickname “Baby King” as he was the protégé of the former leader King Papo allegedly. Gustavo Colon was now referred to as “Lord Gino” now that he was in command of all northern Chicago operations, these two men had just become the King of Kings.
Now at this point in time the Latin King nation was to become even stronger than ever with the Kings Manifesto, and BK and Gino were successfully operating the organization from behind prison walls; however, there were still lots of Latin Kings that supported and looked up to King Papo and many still saw him as the supreme leader of the Latin Kings. King Papo did indeed officially step down and became semi-retired in 1972 but unofficially he was still a shot caller especially since he was out on the streets while BK and Gino were locked up. This was something rumored to have not settled well with some of incarcerated leadership. King Papo may have kicked his habit later into the 1970s but never resumed official leadership.
After the creation of the manifesto in 1972 Beach and Spaulding no longer governed all the Latin King branches and further away branches at last didn’t have to travel all the way to Humboldt Park for meetings. All south side operations were headed at the Boulevards at 24th and Marshall while the north side still reported to Beach and Spaulding. Eventually traveling to report ceased and each branch governed more on its own.
Another big player within the Latin King Nation was a member named Julio “Compa” Munoz who was an original member of the nation. Compa was born in the year 1936 making him one of the oldest members or perhaps the oldest member of the Latin Kings. He was the 9th member of the Imperials as they formed in 1954. Compa was a big-time member and highly regarded in the nation.
According to court documents, on the night of December 17, 1975 Compa conspired with a prostitute named Deborah Schak and Victor Figueroa and Ralphie Munoz to get a sum of money together to pay for Schak’s methadone treatment because she was a struggling recovering heroin addict and asked the men for help according to court documents. The four of them then conspired to have Schak lure a client into a trap where she would perform her sexual favors for money then Munoz’ men would rob him. Schak lived with Munoz at 1737 Maplewood (Maplewood and Bloomingdale in Logan Square) and told Munoz she needed the money and was willing to steal for it according to court documents. Schak then walked to Western Avenue and picked up on three men, two of which took her to one of the men’s residence where she performed sexual favors on them both. One of the men, Peter Mobiles, wanted to stay with Schak and offered her $100 for a night with her and he flashed a large amount of money according to court documents. Mobiles and Schak then left to stay at her “sister’s house” at Campbell and Wabansia which was right down the block from where Schak and Munoz realistically resided. Schak had Mobiles wait outside while she went inside to ask her sister for permission, instead Schak grabbed a knife and Munoz came with her with a gun on him. Schak asked Mobiles if he could give Munoz a ride to Foster and Sheridan, Mobiles agreed and got in the car while Schak got in the back seat behind him, and Munoz hopped into the passenger seat. According to court documents Munoz put the gun to Mobiles’ head while Schack wrapped her arm around Mobile’s neck and put her knife to his throat, the two of them then demanded money but Mobiles only gave them $20. Munoz then ordered Mobiles to take off his clothes and put them right outside the car, Mobiles complied according to court documents. I am speculating Munoz had Mobiles do this, so they could search his clothes for more money because after this happened Munoz told Schak to step outside, Munoz then ordered Mobiles to lie down on the ground face down, then Munoz shot Mobiles in the back of the head. The two of them grabbed the clothes then left the scene and fled to their place on Maplewood. Back at the residence Julio Munoz told Ralphie Munoz that he was not sure if Mobiles was dead and that he accidentally shot Mobiles but also said “it’s probably better that way.” Schak apparently did not want murder to be involved because she was freaked out and ended up testifying against Munoz which got him put in prison for the murder. (People vs. Munoz, 1979).
This Julio Munoz case did not end with this 1975 murder, when the trails were happening in 1976 one of the men that discussed the robbery before it happened in December of 1975 was Victor Figueroa who had turned state’s witness against Compa in August of 1976. Because of Figueroa’s testimony the Latin Kings were making death threats against Figueroa forcing him into a witness protection program. Compa was highly regarded and was a high up member of the organization so tricking on him would come with consequences. The Latin Kings were now hunting Figueroa down and the hunt ended in 1979. According to court documents the frozen body of Victor Figueroa was found in a gangway at 1027 N. Francisco Street (East Humboldt Park) on February 23, 1979 with three bullet wounds in his chest and his penis was severed and shoved into his mouth. Anthony Perez was later arrested and charged with the murder. According to court documents Perez initially denied killing Figueroa but then later confessed to killing him and said he did it with another Latin King named “Black Jack,” but Black Jack’s real identity was never revealed in the court documents. Perez said he killed Figueroa in revenge for Figueroa testifying against Julio Compa Munoz. On the night of the murder Figueroa went into a bar at 1100 North California Ave (California and Thomas in East Humboldt Park) to look into buying drugs, at the bar Perez and Black Jack recognized Figueroa and approached him offering to get him the drugs as long as Figueroa came with them. The two men lured Figueroa to the alleyway at 1027 N. Francisco Street then Black Jack acted like he fell on the ice and pulled down Figueroa with him, then Perez pulled out the .38 revolver and pointed it at Figueroa and said “your days are over,” then fired all six bullets striking him only twice in the chest. Black Jack then reloaded the revolver for Perez and told him to shoot Figueroa in the heart, Perez then shot Figueroa right in the heart which was the cause of death according to the court documents. Perez was later arrested and charged with murder, in the court documents Perez denied cutting off Figueroa’s penis and feeding it to him, and the documents do not detail that part at all (People vs. Perez, 1983). The penis was likely removed by one of the two men to symbolize what happens when you run your mouth and testify, hence, why the penis was placed in the man’s mouth, the message was clearly sent, and it also showed the influence that Compa had, being an original member and perhaps the oldest member. Compa would remain in prison until 2012 where he died behind bars. Compa was also one of the bigger time leaders if not the very leader of the East Humboldt Park Latin Kings which was a section that closed right after Compa’s incarceration in 1979.
As the 1970s progressed the Latin Kings only got bigger There were white and black members as early as the 1960s but by the 1970s there were several black and white members depending on the neighborhood. The Latin Kings also had small sleeper cells of members living in the suburbs as early as the early 1970s, then by the mid-1970s there began some recruitment in the suburbs like, Melrose Park and Maywood as examples.
In about the mid-1970s Latin Kings settled in the Rogers Park community on the far north side of the city. This is when Columbia and Ashland opened up a section called “Bad Boys.” These Latin Kings were know for fighting other Latin King sections. This group also fought the Gangster Disciples fiercely from Sullivan and Kilmer. This section was strong in the 1980s and 1990s.
The importance of the Maywood Latin Kings
The year was 1976, and most of the Chicago area suburbs were quiet and a place to escape from the bustling city. In the western suburbs there was no signs of Chicago based gang activity stretching from Berkeley, to Maywood to Bellwood to Elmhurst to Melrose Park to Villa Park. All was quite until Mexican families came to move into the suburb of Maywood and start a better new life for themselves and their children. Maywood was a frustrated mostly white community that suddenly suffered high unemployment after their can factory closed down. People took their frustrations out on the newly arrived Hispanic and black residents moving in. Hispanic people were settling around the intersection of 5th Avenue and Lake Street and some were trying to open businesses and running into difficulties and unfair treatment from the rest of the community. The first Latin King to move to Maywood was “Nat” from 23rd and Christiana. Nat recruited his cousin “PeeWee” then soon a domino effect happened of several of their friends joining the Latin Kings. These young suburban Latin Kings made 5th Avenue and Maywood their stronghold and the headquarters. This section became very tightly ran and well organized and become the very first Latin King suburban branch on the entire planet. These Latin Kings were serious and put in lots of work for the organization. Within a very short time they expanded into nearby Melrose Park and Stone Park to help with Hispanic families facing unfair treatment. By the later 1970s and early 1980s these Latin Kings began to engage is vicious gang wars with rival gangs moving in from the city bringing negative attention to their original cause which was to help the community. Over time, the Maywood branch would spread out further influencing several more south suburbs and west suburbs that reached all the way as far north west Indiana. By the later 1980s and early 1990s Latin Kings were in just about every suburb connected near the southern side of the city and they all stemmed from the old Maywood chapter.
In 1977, the Latin Kings made the news again when another Division street riot kicked off on June 4th 1977. Once again Chicago Police gunned down two Puerto Rican youths and once again the community was infuriated. Looting, vandalism and violence ensued and the Latin Kings were a major part of the riot and so were the Spanish Cobras. Once Cobras and Kings saw each other they started fighting viciously and leaving a big path of destruction in their wake.
A big turn happened for the Latin Kings in 1978. The Latin Kings had a very strong branch operating on the corner of North Ave and Kedzie in West Humboldt Park. Right around the corner at 1551 North Kedzie Ave is the Illinois National Guard armory. The Latin Kings of North and Kedzie pulled off a major heist on a military vehicle right near the armory and stole thousands of dollars worth of high powered weapons by ambushing a military vehicle as it left the armory, they then helped themselves to all the crates in the vehicle while they held the personnel at gun point. This made the Latin Kings one heavily armed organization for the rest of their existence even up to present day and of course this will enhance recruitment due to being heavily armed.
In April, 1978 the Folk Nation alliance was formed in the prison system which included such gangs as Black Gangsters Disciples, Black Disciples, Ambrose, Satan Disciples, Latin Disciples (Maniac Latin Disciples), Two Six Boys (Gangster Two Six), Spanish Cobras, Simon City Royals, Almighty Insane Royal Popes, Imperial Gangsters, Latin Eagles, Orquestra Albany and Ashland Vikings. This was a prison alliance mainly orchestrated by Larry Hoover. This spelled bad news for the Latin Kings and any other gang that was not aligned with this new Folk Nation. It turned out the Latin Kings’ worst enemies had joined this alliance in the same meeting, the Latin Kings along with the Vice Lords and El Rukns created the People Nation alliance. They then extended the invite the Mickey Cobras, Latin Counts, Bishops, Spanish Lords, P.R. Stones and Insane Unknowns. The El Rukns and Vice Lords represented the Islam side of the People Nation, while the Latin Kings were represented the Christian side of the People Nation. This was all made possible because the Latin Kings, Black P. Stones, and Vice Lords had been allies ever since the early 1960s (with only scuffles here and there in certain parts of the city) when they all found a common enemy, the Devil’s Disciples.
In the year 1972 Latin Kings began to reside in the Back of the Yards community around 51st and Ada. Throughout the 70s the Latin Kings living here conflicted heavily with Latin Souls and Saints but no official section was established until the year 1980 when Mexican migration increased in the area and when rival gangs like Two Six, Satan Disciples and Two Two Boys colonized the area. This new section became the legendary 51st and Ada branch.
A story I want to bring back from the Chicagogangs.org site is the meatloaf story. This is a story that goes to show the lengths this Latin Kings will go to, to make something happen. The story comes from the NGCRC in collaboration with federal authorities over their witnesses. This full story can be found here https://ngcrc.com/ngcrc/page15.htm written by George W. Knox who works for the NGCRC. He tells a tale of a high-ranking Latin King that turned informant and was put in witness protection program according to Knox. Inmate Carlos Robles of the north side Latin kings was classified as an “escapee” just two days before his release from prison and the case ran cold until 1992 when the informant told authorities about Robles and then in 1995 a skull was dug up in the Statesville Prison yard as evidence but still no one was pursued for prosecution and perhaps never will be.
In 1981, Raul Rayo Gonzales had a conflict with a north side Latin King Carlos Robles. Robles disrespected Gonzales and had no issue with it because Rayo was running the south side while Robles was under north side and felt Rayo couldn’t touch him. The only obstacle Rayo had to overcome was to get the nod from Lord Gino and state his case, Gino sided with Rayo and authorized Rayo to do whatever was needed to make an example out of Robles. Rayo then would then patiently wait two years.
In July 1983, Robles’ parole had come up and he was just two days away from getting out and he didn’t suspect any trouble was coming. Rayo consulted two of the craziest south side Latin Kings he could find in Statesville. One was a cold-blooded killer from Cuba that was known to kill without any remorse. Another was a short white member of the Latin Kings, both men were avid PCP users which already would make them extra crazy and creative. The two men approached Robles and told him they were throwing him a “parole party” in the basement. The men got permission from the guards to use the basement where the showers were and Robles thought he was being led downstairs to a whole celebration but once he was guided by the two men there was no one down there, before Carlos could realize anything the two men pulled out large machetes from somewhere and chopped his head clean off. The two men then hacked his arms and legs off then chopped his limbs and torso into pieces making a big mess of blood everywhere, but all they had to do was turn on the showers and let it all go down the drain, then men also washed off the body parts.
The two inmates then coordinated a staged fight coordinated by fellow Latin Kings to create a diversion while both men slipped through a tunnel that led to the butcher shop where the men ran into a rival Black Gangster Disciple gang member working the shop. Although BGDs (GDs) and Latin Kings are enemies the two men offered money and drugs in exchange for this BGD to help dispose of the body parts that were wrapped in plastic bags. The BGD accepted the offer and began feeding body parts into a large meat grinder with pork and beef. It was a perfect night to do this because meatloaf was on the menu. The three men grinded up the whole body into meat accept the skull which according to Knox “rolled around in the meat grinder like a basketball spinning on a metal rim.” The skull had to be taken with the two and was later buried discreetly in the yard.
Later that night the BGDs and Latin Kings were not eating the meat loaf and giving their portions to other inmates which made them seem generous. The other inmates dined on the meat happily not knowing they were all eating parts of Carlos. Only the BGDs and Latin Kings knew what was in the moat loaf and not a single inmate from either gang ate the meat that night and perhaps snickered as the others chowed down. No one was ever prosecuted for this and ironically one of the men went to possibly work as a chef at a government center in the cafeteria after his release according to Knox. Source from (https://ngcrc.com/profile/profile.html).
In the early 1980s Latin Kings opened new territory on the further south side of the city opening turf in the Back of the Yards, Marquette Park, Gage Park, Brighton Park, Mckinley Park, Pullman (115th), Garfield Ridge, Archer Heights, South Deering, East Side, Hedgewish and Ashburn neighborhoods. This was a massive settlement campaign that also landed them in several Chicago area suburbs as well.
The Latin Kings kept their ties pretty tight with their People Nation allies that intensified on the streets in the early 1980s. By 1981, a new directive was handed down from behind prison walls to expand the People Nation on the streets and offer new gang membership. The Latin Kings then recruited more gangs to join the People alliance and that is when they reeled in gangs like the Gaylords, Insane Deuces, Villa Lobos and Cullerton Deuces. This was also the point in time when there were Latin Kings in every white or Hispanic neighborhood in the city. The Kings were now putting in more sleeper cells out in the suburbs and were beginning to bust out in some suburbs like Rockford, Cicero, Berwyn and Joliet.
By the mid-1980s the Latin Kings were spreading into more suburbs and the sleeper cells were opening up and taking in suburban kids interested in gangbanging. By the late 1980s the Latin Kings were now in the majority of Du Page County, Will County, Lake County and Kane County suburbs and all of Cook County. In Will County they started recruiting out of early 80s sleeper cells in Romeoville and Bolingbrook. In Dupage County they opened sets in suburbs like Addison, Schaumberg, Downers Grove and Westmont.
The Latin Kings were aggressively expanding their empire and were looking for more angles to expand the Cocaine, Marijuana, and Heroin pipelines by putting soldiers in the burbs. They also grew into other states and even small towns in rural Illinois. As the Latin Kings continued to grow by the late 1980s tensions with other gangs heated up and more violence ensued. The Latin Kings wanted to flex their muscle and show their dominance in the streets by displaying several acts of violence; this would eventually bring about early tensions with fellow gangs within the People Nation alliance. Sometimes scuffles would break out or there were cold feelings among allies. This was seen as necessary because Latin Kings had to look out for each other more so than any other group out there and members needed to make a living on the streets without interference, however, interalliance wars were often smoothed over after short periods of time in the late 80s. Latin Kings would learn to perceive possible threats from other organizations quickly and be fast to be on the offensive before anything got more out of hand.
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