alleged member of Chicago’s criminal street gang, the Latin Dragons,
has been charged with murder in aid of racketeering, announced Acting
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s
Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson for the
Northern District of Indiana.
According to the criminal complaint, filed yesterday,
Manuel Diaz, 26, of Hammond, Indiana, is a member of the Latin Dragons, a
criminal gang whose members engage in acts of violence, including
murder, attempted murder, robbery, kidnapping and assault, to protect
the gang’s territory and drug operations. Latin Dragons 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.
According to the allegations, on Sept. 30, Diaz engaged
in a brief confrontation with the driver of an SUV at a local gas
station, during which Diaz’s passenger flashed gang signs at occupants
of the SUV and the driver of the SUV displayed a semi-automatic handgun
to Diaz. After Diaz and the SUV left the gas station parking lot, Diaz
pursued the SUV in his vehicle. A third car, traveling with the SUV,
intervened and refused to allow Diaz’s vehicle to pass. According to
the allegations, Diaz retrieved a revolver from under the driver’s seat
of his vehicle and fired one shot into the third car, striking the
driver in the head and killing him.
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, along
with the Chicago and Calumet City, Illinois Police. The case is being
prosecuted by Trial Attorney Joseph A. Cooley of the Criminal Division’s
Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David J.
A complaint is merely an allegation and all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.