Saturday, August 04, 2012
Tearful Chicago police officer Alex Guerrero, 42, pleads guilty in drug robbery conspiracy
A Chicago police officer broke down in tears today as he pleaded guilty to conspiring with leaders of the Latin Kings to rob the gang’s rivals of drugs, guns and cash.
Alex Guerrero, 42, who had worked as a tactical officer on Chicago's Southeast Side, pleaded guilty at the federal courthouse in Hammond, Ind., to racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy and using threats or violence.
In exchange for his guilty plea and likely testimony at the upcoming trial of several Latin King leaders, Guerrero faces a sentence of 19 years in prison. He would have faced mandatory life in prison if convicted at trial.
Dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, Guerrero broke into tears several times as U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano asked him in painstaking detail about the drug "rips" that he and his partner, Anthony Martinez, committed at the behest of Latin King leaders. Martinez pleaded guilty last December.
Guerrero described how the two tactical officers would make traffic stops or enter homes under the guise of legitimate police investigation and steal hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana as well as tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and turn the proceeds over to Sisto “Suge” Bernal, an alleged Latin King leader.
The officers committed the robberies both on and off duty and were paid thousands of dollars for each job, Guerrero said.
In one instance in December 2006, Guerrero said, they broke into the home of James "Jim Bob" Walsh, then a leader of the rival Latin Dragons, tied him up and robbed him of firearms, drugs and cash.
"My partner and I with our police uniforms went into his home and took the possessions, your honor," Guerrero said as a half dozen members of his family cried quietly in the courtroom gallery.
Walsh was later slain in an alleged gang hit at a restaurant in Griffith, Ind., prosecutors said.
Lozano set sentencing for Guerrero for next Jan. 11.