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More Than Two Dozen Members of Violent Street Gang Plead Guilty

January 12, 2007 -- Following a nearly three-year long investigation, investigators in the Houston Police Department’s Gang Division announced today (Jan. 12) that most of the 27 members and associates of a dangerous criminal street gang arrested during a massive sweep have pleaded guilty to a slew of federal and state crimes.

The suspects, from one of the nation’s most violent street gangs called “The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation,” were arrested during law enforcement raids last summer. With the cooperation of the U.S. Attorney and the Harris County District Attorney’s offices, nearly every suspect has pleaded guilty to committing crimes that include murder, engaging in organized crime, federal drug conspiracy, possession and sale of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs, to the sale and use of prohibited and stolen weapons.

The highest ranking state leader of the gang is among those charged on federal narcotic and weapons offenses. He is identified as Victor Manuel Rivera (H/m, DOB 7-30-65). Two other suspects of note, Aldo Hernandez (H/m, DOB 11-12-83) and Roger Juarez (H/m, DOB 1-13-87), were arrested and charged with murder in a Bryan College Station case and engaging in organized crime.

HPD Executive Assistant Chief Mike Thaler, head of the Investigative Operations Command, called the arrests “very rewarding” and a major accomplishment for the HPD Gang Division and more than a dozen agencies that worked hand in hand in very dangerous circumstances. “To identify the ranking members of this criminal enterprise statewide was an accomplishment in and of itself,” said Chief Thaler. “But to build a criminal case of this magnitude and indict several of the gang’s command leadership and dismantle that leadership symbolizes police work at its finest,” Thaler added.

Houston police and other lawmen from numerous agencies (including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the College Station Police Department) seized 33 kilograms of cocaine, 32 weapons and $200,000 in cash and assets during the lengthy investigation dubbed “Operation Corona.” Thanks to funding provided by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area of Houston (HIDTA), a multi-agency task force was formed and concentrated efforts on infiltrating and disrupting the criminal enterprise of the Latin Kings gang. While most of the violent gang members were arrested in Houston, others were taken into custody around the state.

JFC/MDG/GAS 1-12-07

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.