16th Aurora gang member arrested after 3-year investigation

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Leonel A. Martinez | Aurora police

The last fugitive wanted after a nearly three-year undercover investigation into Latin Kings gang members in west suburban Aurora was arrested Thursday afternoon.

Leonel A. Martinez, 29, was arrested about 4:30 p.m. during a traffic stop at Prairie and Home avenues in Warrenville, according to a statement from Aurora police. He was a passenger in the vehicle that was pulled over.

Authorities learned that Martinez had been watching a home in the 2S200 block of Blackthorn Lane in unincorporated DuPage County, police said. They set up surveillance on the home and stopped the vehicle after they saw him enter it.

Martinez, of the 1200 block of Grove Avenue in Aurora, was charged with eight counts of delivery of a controlled substance and two counts of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, police said.

He is the 16th person charged in “Operation Tri-Lamb,” an undercover investigation into the Latin Kings by Aurora police, the FBI and the Kane County state’s attorney’s office that lasted nearly three years, police said. Investigators made a series of undercover, controlled weapons and narcotics purchases involving confidential informants who were also Latin Kings.

A total of 96 felony charges were filed against the 16 men arrested in the operation since August, police said. Authorities seized 13 guns and about 22 ounces of cocaine during the investigation.

Martinez is being held on a $250,000 bond and is expected to be transferred to the Kane County Correctional Center in St. Charles on Friday, according to police.

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