STATELINE (WIFR) – Police say some of the most dangerous criminals in the Stateline are now in jail.
One alleged criminal is still at large according to Rockford Police after federal and local law enforcement agencies zeroed in and captured a dozen alleged gang members. Ina n operation, targeting those who sell drugs and guns throughout the region.
13 Rockford-are Latin King street gang members are now facing serious charges for either trafficking or distributing guns or drugs. One of those people is still at large. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says this is the largest operation of this nature in our area likely in the last five years.
Rockford Police say the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives (ATF), has been leading this investigation for a year now and have been focusing on Rockford’s west and southwest side looking for these individuals. Police say early this morning, officers and agents began arresting the group and they’re alleged to have been distributing guns and drugs throughout the region not just in Rockford.
“It’s the mission of the Rockford Police Department to eradicate gangs in the city of Rockford. They are criminal gangs and it is our mission to eradicate them. They’re dangerous illegal activities. We’re talking narcotics and we’re talking firearms,” said Deputy Chief Dave Hopkins with the Rockford Police.
We’re told ten of the thirteen individuals were taken into custody today. Two were already in custody going into this morning and again police are still looking for one. Those arrested are due in federal court later this week.
Deputy Chief Hopkins says cocaine seems to be the main drug they were allegedly distributing as well as various types of guns, however he wouldn’t specifically say what kinds or how many.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Police say 13 Rockford area Latin King members are facing federal gun and/or narcotics charges after a year-long investigation into firearms and cocaine trafficking.
Ten of the thirteen defendants were arrested today with one defendant already in custody and one defendant previously arraigned.
28-year-old Everardo Rodriguez, 38-year-old Oscar Pina, and 38-year-old Gabriel Rodriguez are each charged separately with selling cocaine.
Mallek Sanchez, 28, is charged alone with selling cocaine, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm with a destroyed serial number.
Teovonni Cunningham, 29, Darrell Reed, 26, and Michael Schaffer, 31, are all charged together with conspiring to possess and sell stolen firearms. Cunningham is also charged with possession of 21 stolen firearms and numerous rounds of stolen ammunition, with being a felon in possession of those stolen firearms and ammunition, and with selling one of the stolen firearms and the stolen ammunition. Reed is also charged with possessing and selling four of the stolen firearms.
Daniel Guajardo, 24, is charged separately with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a short-barreled shotgun. Jose G. Pagan, 37, is charged alone with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Mario A. Guerra, 33, and Rosario Pillado, 21, are each charged separately with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Sergio Cazares, 20, and Jose M. Martinez, 26, are each charged separately with possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
All of the defendants are Rockford residents, except for Darrell Reed who is a resident of Byron, Ill., and Mallek Sanchez, who is a resident of Belvidere, Ill.
Each drug distribution charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Each charge of a felon possessing a firearm, of possessing or selling a stolen firearm, or of possessing of a short-barreled firearm carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Each charge of possessing a firearm that has an obliterated serial number carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiring to possess and sell stolen firearms carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.