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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
June 17, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Attempted Murder Charges Filed Against 6 Members of Latin King Gang... Victims Throat Slashed in Act of Revenge...

Attorney General’s Office & Joint-Agency Investigations Target Gangs, Guns & Drugs

TRENTON — Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced the indictment of six members of the notorious Latin Kings Street Gang on charges related to the 2004 attempted murder of a former gang member. The charges result from a continuing effort by the Attorney General’s “Gangs, Guns and Drugs” initiative targeting violent street gangs operating throughout New Jersey.

According to Attorney General Harvey, the State Grand Jury indictment resulted from an intensive investigation conducted by the North Bergen Police Department and the New Jersey State Police Street Gang Unit. The Division of Criminal Justice - Organized Crime & Racketeering Bureau coordinated the prosecution. The investigation targeted the August, 2004, stabbing and slashing of a former gang member by local chapter leaders and fellow members of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation street gang operating in Jersey City, Hudson County. The charges contained in the indictment include criminal conspiracy, attempted murder (first degree), aggravated assault, and weapons violations.

“This indictment serves notice to gangs everywhere in New Jersey that law enforcement is committed to identifying, investigating, arresting, prosecuting, and jailing gang members who threaten the public safety,” said Attorney General Harvey. “Gangs and gang-related activity, including violent acts of revenge against fellow members, will not be tolerated. Gangs will not be allowed to operate with impunity in New Jersey.”

Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, and Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, Superintendent, New Jersey State Police, identified the defendants as members of the Jersey City Chapter of the Latin Kings. The indictment charged:

  • Jose Alvarez, a/k/a “King Sinbad,” 50, 68th Street, North Bergen. Currently incarcerated in the Hudson County Jail. Charged with conspiracy, attempted murder (first degree), aggravated assault (2nd degree), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, tampering with evidence, and hindering apprehension;
  • Christian Lazaro Atoche, a/k/a “King Toof,” 22, Union City. Currently incarcerated in the Hudson County Jail. Charged with conspiracy, attempted murder (first degree), aggravated assault (2nd degree), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon;
  • Juanque Castillo, a/k/a “King Skillz,” 26, West New York. Currently incarcerated in the Hudson County Jail. Charged with conspiracy, attempted murder (first degree), aggravated assault (2nd degree), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon;
  • Joshua Galindo, a/k/a “King Apache,” 29, 8th Street, Union City. Currently incarcerated in the Hudson County Jail. Identified as the “First Crown” of the Jersey City Chapter of the Latin Kings. Charged with conspiracy, attempted murder (first degree), aggravated assault (2nd degree), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon;
  • Irving Rivera, a/k/a “King Irv,” 25, Cliffside Park, Currently incarcerated in the Hudson County Jail. Identified as the “Third Crown or enforcer.” Charged with conspiracy, attempted murder (first degree), aggravated assault (2nd degree), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, and certain persons not to have weapons;
  • Jose Santos, a/k/a “King Vengeance and/or Manny,” 30, 8th Street, Union City. Currently incarcerated in the Hudson County Jail. Charged with conspiracy, attempted murder (first degree), aggravated assault (2nd degree), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon.

If convicted on all counts, each defendant faces over 40 years in state prison and criminal fines exceeding $700,000.

The State Grand Jury indictment charges that on Aug. 29, 2004, former Latin King gang member Manuel Villacres was severely attacked and repeatedly stabbed in the head, face, throat, and chest by local chapter leaders and fellow members of the Jersey City Chapter of the Latin Kings street gang. According to treating physicians at the Jersey City Medical Center, the slash wound to the throat nearly severed the jugular vein, causing Villacres to lose more than a liter of blood. The investigation uncovered evidence that Villacres had previously fought with Galindo (First Crown) and, as a result, the leadership council determined to exact retaliation. On Aug. 28-29, Santos and Castillo socialized with Villacres at a Union City residence. The indictment charges that in the early morning hours of Aug. 29, the fellow gang members confronted Villacres at an apartment complex on 68th Street and Meadowview Avenue in North Bergen where the attack occurred. As a result of investigation by the North Bergen Police Department and the State Police Street Gang Unit, Galindo, Santos, Rivera, and Alvarez were arrested on Sept. 17. Atoche and Castillo were subsequently arrested on Sept. 26.

The indictment was handed-up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Neil H. Shuster on June 15. The case will be scheduled for trial in Hudson County Superior Court.

The investigation was conducted by Police Office Enrique Marrero, North Bergen Police Department and Det. Juan Siso, New Jersey State Police Street Gang Unit. The case was presented to the state grand jury by Deputy Attorney General Chris Matthews of the Division of Criminal Justice - Organized Crime and Racketeering Bureau.

An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

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