Fernando “Ace” King, the second in command of 10,000 Latin Kings, authored a rule-book that told his soldiers how to behave – don’t shoot innocent bystanders, don’t hang out with folks who do “PCP or Crack,” clean up graffiti in your neighborhood.
But the “26th Street Rules” also provided a blueprint – sometimes in code -– for how his fellow gang members should wreak violence in Chicago’s neighborhoods, prosecutors say.
On Friday, a federal judge sentenced King to 40 years in prison for the violence he oversaw.
“It sends a pretty strong message that federal law enforcement is going to go after gang leaders and try to prosecute them as fully as possible,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Porter.
Federal prosecutors had asked for the maximum sentence – 40 years – saying even though King pleaded guilty to racketeering and extortion, he never took responsibility for playing a role in any shootings or murders.
Prosecutors contend King ordered his “soldiers” to carry out acts of violence. He was the Supreme Inca of the Latin Kings. Before that, he was the Regional Inca of the 26 Street Region.
“Through that leadership, (King) exhorted his soldiers to engage in a wide range of criminal activity – up to and including murder,” prosecutors wrote in their recommendation to the court for a 40-year term. “In many cases, those soldiers – for whom (the) defendant and the other leaders of the Latin Kings are responsible – were simply boys who killed or were killed.”
Prosecutors say the rule-book gave gang members license to commit violence when necessary: “All chapters in the Little Village Region will hold up their hood up to the (utmost), ‘protect your hood’ from anyone.”
In April, King’s leader, the “Corona” of the Latin Kings, Augustin Zambrano, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, assault with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit extortion. He faces sentencing in November. Zambrano was the nationwide leader of the Latin Kings, which is based in Chicago and has about 10,000 members in Illinois alone, according to federal prosecutors.
King is currently serving a 20-year term for a drugs-related conviction. Under the terms of Friday’s sentence, the two prison terms will overlap, meaning King serves a 40-year maximum.
Contributing: Stefano Esposito