GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A federal jury Friday convicted David Casillas and Antonio Rios, both of Holland, of racketeering and cocaine conspiracies.
Both defendants were charged, along with 29 other defendants, with conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity (RICO) for their roles in a violent, drug-trafficking street gang known as the Holland Latin Kings. The jury found sufficient proof the racketeering activity of both defendants involved at least 5 kilograms of cocaine.
However, the jury found insufficient proof that Rios committed two assaults with intent to murder that were not alleged against Casillas.
The other count of conviction related to a separate conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.
Rios was acquitted of a separate marijuana conspiracy charge.
Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 14.
The case resulted from a two-year grand jury investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan was assisted in the investigation by the Holland Police Department; the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office; the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department; the Michigan State Police; the West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET); the Michigan Department of Corrections; and the Kerr County, Texas, Sheriff’s Department.
The other 29 defendants earlier pleaded guilty to their roles in the racketeering conspiracy.
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Patrick Miles Jr. said, “The successful federal prosecutions of the 31 defendants associated with the Holland Latin Kings is the result of an effective collaboration among a variety of local and federal law enforcement and prosecution agencies. Working together we achieved a positive result for the Holland community.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Bogdalek said, “These guilty convictions show that collaborative law enforcement partnerships work in targeting violent gangs and have an impact on reducing violent crime. ATF is always honored to work with the Holland Police Department, WEMET/MSP, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan Department of Corrections and the Kerr County Texas Sheriff’s Office.”
Holland Police Chief Matt Messer said, “We are pleased with outcome of this lengthy investigation that has had a substantial positive impact on the Holland area and has solved crimes reaching back over the last three decades. And we appreciate the local and federal collaboration on this case that resulted in the successful prosecution of 31 high ranking members of the Latin Kings gang.”
Ottawa County Sheriff Gary Rosema said, “The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office is also very pleased with the outcome of this investigation and the verdict that has been rendered as it relates to Luis Rios and David Casillas. We are hoping that our communities understand and appreciate the priority that has been placed on this investigation and prosecution, as this is important in making our communities a safe place to live and visit.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Russell A. Kavalhuna and Phillip J. Green.