Two Chicago police officers are accused of stealing cash, guns and drugs and turning them over to Latin King gang members, according to charges unsealed Friday.
Alex Guerrero and Antonio Martinez were among 21 defendants named in the federal indictment (.pdf) that involves conspiracy, murder, assault and racketeering.
They're not named in the homicide charges, but are charged with conspiracy.
"I'm glad that these officers are arrested. I'm glad that they're off the street. We have to ensure that this doesn't happen again," Supt. Garry McCarthy said at the press conference in Hammond, Ind.
Six of the men accused were charged within the last year and are currently being held without bond. Fifteen others, including the two police officers, are accused of taking some part in at least 75 illegal acts, including conspiracy, 19 homicides, assault and firearm and drug sales in Chicago, Northwest Indiana, Texas and Mexico.
Between 2004 and 2006, federal authorities said the officers acted under the guise of real police busts in Rockford, Chicago and Hammond and took cash, guns and drugs, and turned the loot over to gang members. They sometimes used their police badges, squad cars and issued weapons in the busts, said David Capp, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana.
"In essence, these men are alleged to have used their status as police officers to commit various illegal acts at the direction of Latin King leaders," said Capp.
McCarthy called the charges against the officers "unspeakable" and said it calls for a redoubling of efforts to ensure the integrity of police officers.
"Unfortunately, these things will occur. We draw police officers from the community at large. Therefore, sometimes we don't always get the highest quality," he said.
Martinez, 40, retired from the Chicago Police Department in 2009 due to an injury. Guerrero, 41, was on active duty when he was arrested Thursday.
While the charges put a "significant dent" into the Latin Kings operations, said Capp, two men named in the indictment remain at-large and may possibly still be in the Chicago area.
David "Flaco" Lira and Paulino "Chino" Salazar are considered armed and dangerous.
Friday's announcement comes one week after a group of Imperial Gangsters were charged with racketeering. Capp warned that type of dismantling of gang operations won't stop.
"The law enforcement team... is here to stay," he said.
The six already in custody include: Alexander Vargas, 24, of Highland, Ivan Quiroz, 30, of Posen, Ill., and Sisto Bernal, 45, Jason Ortiz, 28, Brandon Clay, 24, and Martin Anaya, 41, all of Chicago.
In addition to Guerrero and Martinez, those charged in the indictment include: Sergio Robles, 23, Santiago Gudino, 27, Oscar Gonzalez, 21, and Victor Meza, 23, all of Hammond; Hiluterio Chavez, 41, Emiliano Esparanza, 40, Paulino Salazar, 29, Gabriel Jalomos, 24, Bianca Fernandez, 22, and Serina Arambula, 22, all of Chicago; and David Lira, 38, of Lansing.
Twelve were arrested this week. Salazar and Lira remain at-large. The name of one person indicted remains sealed.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Salazar or Lira should contact authorities.