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Gang Members Will Plead To Racketeering

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HAMMOND, Ind. (STMW) – Two Latin Kings gang members will plead guilty to one count of racketeering, with one of them accepting responsibility for two 2007 shooting deaths in Griffith, Ind.

Jose Zambrano, 30, of south suburban Sauk Village, and Jermaine Ellis, 20, of Chicago, filed plea agreements Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hammond.

The two were charged earlier this year along with Alexander “Pacman” Vargas, 33, of Highland, Ind., and three others for their work with the Latin Kings, which prosecutors claim involved dealing drugs, robbing and the killing of rival Latin Dragon gang members Gonzalo Diaz of Hammond and James Walsh of Chicago at a Griffith restaurant.

Two of the co-defendants, Jason Ortiz and Brandon Clay, face other charges claiming they were the ones who fired the guns that killed Diaz and Walsh.

However, Zambrano and Ellis say in their agreements that they are “responsible for the first degree murder of two victims.”

In a previous hearing, an FBI agent testified Clay told him during an interrogation this summer that Zambrano told Clay to kill the men as a favor for Vargas, who’s alleged to be a district leader for the Latin Kings.

Zambrano claims he was a manager of criminal activity and was responsible for 150 kilograms or more of cocaine in his role with the group.

Ellis says in his plea that he possessed a firearm in connection with the charge. They both also agree to testify in front of a jury.

Both men face up to a life sentence on the charge and a maximum fine of $250,000.

A trial date has not been set for the four other defendants.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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