JOLIET – Nineteen Latin King gang members – including the suspect in a 2010 murder – have been charged in Operation: King Kong.
Some of the 19 had been arrested by the time the 2 p.m. news conference started, while others were still being sought by authorities.
Police also seized more than 40 guns, 230 grams of cocaine and 200 grams of methamphetamine during the investigation, according to Benton.
Aaron M. Bowers, 25, of Joliet, has been charged with the Feb. 23, 2010 murder of Nichole Rodriguez, who was shot to death in a car while her 8-year-old daughter was in the backseat.
Rodriguez’s stepsister also was in the green 1992 Oldsmobile Royale, which was parked in a driveway in the 500 block of East Benton Street when two men approached and fired into the car. Benton and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said evidence obtained during the gang investigation led to the charges against Bowers, but would not discuss a motive for the slaying.
“The Latin Kings are a very organized gang with an extensive history of violence and drug dealing within our community,” Benton said. “This joint operation will have a lasting impact on the gang’s organizational hierarchy and overall effectiveness and will undoubtedly improve the safety and quality of life in the city of Joliet.”
Bowers also faces charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and illegal sale of a firearm.