Five more members of the Detroit Latin Counts street gang could go to prison for 30 years after they pleaded guilty Monday to federal felony charges for racketeering conspiracy involving murder and drug trafficking, the Justice Department said. The pleas, made last week in federal court in Ann Arbor, were unsealed Monday, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade of Michigan’s Eastern District said.
The Latin Counts gang operates in southwest Detroit and the downriver communities of Lincoln Park and Ecorse. The indictment alleges that 11 defendants committed assaults, murder, trafficking in drugs and stolen firearms, robbery and breaking and entering homes and businesses. The indictment alleges that the gang uses violence to stake out its “turf” and to intimidate both rival gang members and the citizens of southwest Detroit.
Those who pleaded guilty are:
Devin Dantzler, 21, of Ecorse;
Victor Vasquez, 26, of Detroit;
Jonathan Estrada, 27, of Lincoln Park;
Jesus Rodriguez, 25, of Lincoln Park; and
Angel Rodriguez, 21, of Lincoln Park.
As part of their guilty pleas, Dantzler and Victor Vasquez took responsibility for causing the death of Mustafa Al-Yasiry at the Big Apple Market in southwest Detroit on April 18, 2014.
According to the indictment, several Latin Counts assaulted Al-Yasiry, and Dantzler shot and killed him. Three other gang members have already pleaded guilty for their roles in this murder. Similarly, as part of their pleas, Estrada and the two Rodriguez brothers took responsibility for participating in the killing of Terrence McClearen and the shooting of another victim on Aug. 18, 2013, according to a press release announcing the pleas.
The gang members were arrested and prosecuted as a result of the work of the Detroit One Initiative, and through the lead efforts of the Detroit Police Department and the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, which consists of representatives of Homeland Security Investigations, Detroit Police Department, Lincoln Park Police Department, Michigan Department of Corrections, and Michigan State Police.
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