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Thursday, 7 April 2011

Augustin "Tino" Zambrano, 51, considered by authorities as the gang's highest-ranking leader in the nation, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and multiple federal charges

08:57 | , ,

The Latin Kings, one of the country's largest street gangs, stretched from 26th Street to the East Coast and Texas, prosecutors say.

But on Wednesday, after two days of deliberations, Augustin "Tino" Zambrano, 51, considered by authorities as the gang's highest-ranking leader in the nation, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and multiple federal charges for orchestrating violence and drug dealing in Chicago. The federal jury also convicted three other reputed ranking leaders of all charges.

The prosecution case, built over eight years, focused on the gang's activities in the Little Village neighborhood, the heart of Chicago's Mexican-American community. But evidence at the trial also showed Zambrano's reach as the gang's "corona," or leader, went beyond that.

Undercover recordings played during the trial included members talking about how the gang's leaders in other states, including New York, New Jersey and Texas, followed policies ordained by the Little Village faction.

But much of the six-week trial focused on the gang's violence and drug dealing in Chicago. Prosecutors relied heavily on gang informants who made the secret recordings. Also convicted were Vicente Garcia, 33, said to be in charge of all Latin Kings in Illinois; Alphonso Chavez, 26, alleged leader of the gang's 31st and Drake faction; and Jose Guzman, 34, a reputed former enforcer in Little Village.

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