Federal and International, Law and Order

4 More Latin Dragon Members Charged With Racketeering Conspiracy

Justice, Albert V. Bryan District Courthouse, Tim Evanson
Justice outside the Albert V. Bryan District Courthouse in Alexandria, VA. (Photo: Tim Evanson – Flickr – CC license)

Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Four additional members of Chicago area criminal street gang, the Latin Dragons Nation, have been charged with racketeering conspiracy and other related offenses in a second superseding indictment unsealed on Tuesday, October 23, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II for the Northern District of Indiana announced.

According to the second superseding indictment, the Latin Dragons Nation is a criminal street gang that originated in Chicago and spread to other areas, including the Northern District of Indiana.  Members and associates of the Latin Dragons Nation allegedly engage in acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, witness tampering, and assault, to protect the gang’s territory and drug operations.  Latin Dragons Nation gang members are required by gang rules to take immediate violent action against anyone who threatens them, and gain respect and status within the gang by doing so.

The four additional defendants charged in the nine-count indictment are Gustavo Colunga aka “Barkley,” 25, of Hammond, Indiana; Joshua Harris-White aka “BJ,” 24, of Chicago, Illinois; Mario Colunga, 30, of Whiting, Indiana; and Luis Colunga, aka “Panson,” 28, of Chicago, Illinois.

Among the various alleged offenses that the second superseding indictment added are:

  • On or about July 27, 2015, allegedly Gustavo Colunga and Joshua Harris-White approached Victim #6, a juvenile, whom Gustavo Colunga and Harris-White believed was a rival gang member. Harris-White held Victim #6 down, while Gustavo Colunga stabbed Victim #6 in the throat. Both Gustavo Colunga and Harris-White fled in a vehicle driven by a third Latin Dragon Nation member.
  • On or about Nov. 22, 2017, allegedly while Mario Colunga was driving a vehicle occupied by Ralph Mendez Jr., another Latin Dragon Nation member and three female associates, Mendez Jr. did a drive-by shooting in a rival gang neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois.
  • On different occasions, allegedly Luis Colunga delivered an H&R .38 caliber revolver, and Gustavo Colunga delivered a Smith & Wesson .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol and Inter Ordnance .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol and a quantity of cocaine to an undercover ATF special agent. 
  • On or about Aug. 13, 2018, Gustavo Colunga and Joshua Harris-White sold a Ruger .44 magnum revolver and a quantity of marijuana to an ATF undercover special agent.

The previously indicted defendants, charged in this case are Manuel Diaz aka “Smiley,” 27, of Hammond, Indiana; Eduardo Diaz-Corral aka “Lalo,” 20, of Calumet City, Illinois; Ralph Mendez Jr. aka “Lil Devious,” 22, of Chicago, Illinois; and Joseph Roggenkamp aka “Dro,” 21, of East Chicago, Indiana.  Diaz-Corral and Diaz allegedly participated, respectively, in the murders of Paul Cruz on Nov. 20, 2016, in Chicago, and Charles Berrios on Sept. 30, 2017, in Hammond, Indiana. These murders and other acts of violence are charged in this second superseding indictment.

The second superseding indictment is part of ongoing efforts to curb the activities of violent street gangs in the Northern District of Indiana. 

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

If convicted, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  The maximum penalty for murder in aid of racketeering is death or in the alternative a mandatory life sentence.

This case is the result of the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the FBI; the Hammond Police Department; the East Chicago Police Department; the Merrillville Police Department; the Hobart Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department along with the Chicago and Calumet City, Illinois Police.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Robert S. Tully of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph A. Cooley and David J. Nozick of the Northern District of Indiana.

This is from a release of the United States Justice Department.