GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - Two men at the center of the Latin Kings street gang in Holland were convicted in federal court today on cocaine racketeering charges, ending a sweeping criminal investigation that has resulted in 31 convictions.
The 10-day trial in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids included testimony from dozens of witnesses, including admitted members of the notorious Holland Latin Kings.
Jurors returned the mixed verdict at 11:30 a.m. today, finding Antonio Rios and David Casillas guilty of the racketeering conspiracy, but finding them not guilty on other charges.
Rios, 32, was acquitted on two charges of assault with intent to murder but found guilty of conspiracy to deliver at least five kilos of cocaine, the equivalent of about 11 pounds. He is currently serving a 4 to 40-year sentence for a 2012 cocaine delivery conviction in Ottawa County.
Casillas was found not guilty of conspiring to distribute marijuana.
The pair were arrested as part of a sweeping investigation into violence, drug trafficking and racketeering. They face more than 20 years in prison when sentenced in October.
Federal prosecutors say the Holland Latin Kings promoted its trafficking of drugs and firearms through the use of intimidation, threats, assault and murder. The "Almighty Latin Kings Nation is a national organization with chapters in several states, including Michigan.
The Holland chapter was started in 1993 and became the dominant among four rival gangs in the Holland area, federal investigators said. Over the last 20 years, it has grown substantially in southwest Michigan and in numerous Michigan prisons.
Members of the Holland chapter indicated their affiliation through the use of hand gestures, clothing and tattoos – with black and gold being the gang's colors.