Gangland (2007) s04e03 Episode Script

Divide and Conquer

male narrator: In the windy City, the crown Rules the streets.
narrator: They're the violent Masters of the city's Lawless hoods.
hit him, man.
Whoever stops Gone get hit too.
protect the brown pride.
Manifesto says, "kings die, but we multiply.
" narrator: The latin kings.
They'll kill anyone To keep their kingdom pure.
narrator: Chicago.
The windy city Is the home of championship Sports teams, World-class restaurants, And a thumping nightlife.
It's also the birthplace Of the modern gang.
The original scarface, Al capone, put chicago gangs On the map and under his thumb And changed the way Crime happens.
you have a history in chicago With organized crime.
But really, even in the mob's Heyday, they were not piling up Murder victims Like chicago street gangs are.
narrator: Capone set up his Gang on the north side, Where his crew committed Some of their most Brutal murders.
Today chicago's gangland Is run from humboldt park.
narrator: Humboldt park Is the birthplace of the Almighty latin king and queen Nation, The heart of their kingdom.
it varies to about 20, 30, 40, 50 members On a block.
Here's where you got a lot of Dominant latin kings here.
It's gonna say "l" For the "latin.
" It's gonna give you numbers.
It's gonna have a 2.
It's gonna have a 7.
It's gonna tell you Where they're from, From 27th.
Here's the actual street.
27th 27th and drake.
narrator: The kings, Without dispute, Are the toughest and Best organized gang in chicago.
these guys are very lethal.
And they'll be quick to do What they have to do.
narrator: "big t" asked to Have his identity disguised.
He's a former enforcer For the latin kings Who grew up in humboldt park And joined the gang When he was 15.
narrator: His story Is not unique.
The gang has recruited An estimated 25,000 members From across the entire city.
narrator: It's true Not just in chicago But across the United States.
narrator: The latin kings Are 50,000 strong nationwide, Making them a super gang, With huge chapters In four corners of the u.
, Including los angeles And new york.
Yet all roads lead back To the motherland, Chicago, Where the latin kings Desire just three things.
money, power, and drugs.
narrator: From meth To cocaine to marijuana, They own chicago's drug trade.
narrator: Some drugs are Sold secretly from Legitimate businesses.
narrator: The nation, Unlike most gangs, Allows women to be full members.
They are called The latin queens, And they're every bit As hardcore as the kings.
narrator: Sonia rodriguez Asked to have her identity Concealed.
Her street name is "lady q.
" Lady q is the former girlfriend Of the mastermind Of the latin kings, A ruthless criminal Named gustavo colon, Aka "lord gino.
" narrator: Lord gino Has been locked up for decades But managed to build the kings' Criminal empire From behind bars.
Lady q helped him Run the streets.
narrator: Lord gino Is currently behind bars At the supermax prison In florence, colorado.
He is on lockdown Alongside some of the country's Most notorious criminals.
But that has done little To diminish his power.
narrator: Chicago authorities Have struggled for years To stamp out lord gino And the latin kings.
And they've learned There's just one way to do it: Divide and conquer.
June 2003.
A joint task force formed, Comprised of the atf And the cook county Sheriff's department.
Their plan: To cripple the kings By taking out Their top leadership.
They called it "operation broken crown.
" There was only one way to gather Information about the gang: From the inside.
we have individuals Working off their arrest, Or we also have individuals Who are working For monetary purposes.
And we have individuals Working for revenge purposes.
narrator: Two high-ranking Informants would help Authorities learn confidential Information about the latin Kings' hierarchy and operations.
But to gather evidence To build a case, They needed a mole.
Then one landed in their lap.
one l Informants had introduced me To a relative who was also A latin king.
And based on that introduction, He decided to become A confidential informant For the atf.
narrator: The latin king Agreed to wear a digital Recording device.
He was the last person The gang would suspect.
the individual was actually The guy in charge Of searching all the other kings Coming into the gang meetings.
They were able to bypass All the security Or their security checkpoint That they thought they had.
narrator: The snitch Wore a secret bug to meetings.
The task force heard the name Of one latin king Time and time again: Fernando "ace" king.
he is feared Amongst the kings.
He is a very violent individual.
narrator: Ace was the number Two latin king leader In chicago.
He provided protection For gang members In the drug trade and was known For his quick temper And brutality.
In this secret audio recording, Ace is heard ordering the Beating of another latin king.
narrator: He wouldn't be An easy target.
Ace knew how to steer clear Of cops and snitches.
he's learned from other law Enforcement investigations How to insulate himself From law enforcement.
narrator: To get to ace, The informant would have to Solicit help from him.
In 2006, the informant Set up a phony drug business And paid ace for protection.
our informant approached him And said, "well, you know me As a drug dealer, And I'm gonna start My drug business again.
Will you afford me the same Protection that you afford Other latin king gang members?" narrator: Ace wasn't Paid in cash.
So one cold chicago night, The informant gave ace A fake kilo of cocaine.
narrator: This surveillance Video shows ace with the coke Wrapped in a towel, Stuffing it into a heating duct.
The task force was gathering Priceless evidence Against ace and the latin kings.
But the nation's powerful empire Wouldn't crumble that easily.
narrator: Chicago.
Stretched along the cold shores Of lake michigan, It's home to almost 3 million.
To an estimated 25,000 Gangbangers who live here, Chicago represents Just one thing: The almighty latin king And queen nation.
narrator: The story Of the latin kings Begins in the 1940s, When puerto ricans and mexicans Fled political upheaval And sought refuge in chicago.
Instead, many spanish-speaking Immigrants found racism.
narrator: The immigrants Responded by forming what they Called "social groups," Claiming that they strengthened Their sense of community.
One of those Was the latin kings.
narrator: In the 1960s, The latin kings found themselves In the thick Of the civil rights movement, Working to change the system.
narrator: This dream of Change didn't last long.
The culprit: Heroin.
The latin kings saw There was money to be made From addiction, and the nation Took a new course.
narrator: By the early 1970s, The former community group Earned a new label As more and more kings Got into dealing.
you're fighting, And fighting might lead To a shooting or whatever It might end up being, Where now it becomes A street gang.
narrator: Two young leaders Began to emerge As the gang's ranks swelled.
On the south side, It was raul gonzalez, A mexican also known As "baby king," or "bk.
" On the north side, It was a puerto rican named Gustavo colon, known as "gino.
" Even at the age of 18, He stood out.
narrator: The chicago pd Was noticing gino as well For all the wrong reasons.
On September 28, 1972, They charged gino with shooting And killing another teen In the humboldt park Neighborhood.
Gino was convicted of murder And sent to stateville prison In joliet, illinois, For 30 to 60 years.
Once inside, he began to compose A system of intricate laws For the latin kings.
He called it a constitution.
narrator: The code of conduct Became the lifeblood Of the nation.
narrator: Puerto rican Immigrant reymundo sanchez Was only too willing To follow gino's rules.
The 11-year-old lived in fear Of an abusive stepfather And wanted a way out.
narrator: His escape Was hanging with the latin kings In his neighborhood.
narrator: He even tried To sell the kings the gun His stepfather Had pulled on him.
narrator: In 1975, Reymundo became a latin king By way of a violation.
He joined the hundreds In chicago who now swore Allegiance to the nation.
Around that same time, The kings began to allow women Into the gang.
They became known As latin queens And were expected to be As hardcore as the men.
narrator: 15-year-old Sonia rodriguez, aka lady q, Endured a three-minute beating To join the gang.
Before long, she was running Her own six-woman crew.
narrator: Her crew Was pushing cocaine And making money.
narrator: While the gang Had other leaders, like bk, Gino was eclipsing them From his prison cell And becoming the face Of the latin kings.
By 1983, he held the title Of "corona" and was being Called "lord gino" by everyone.
Lord gino carried himself Like royalty and held court With only a select few.
lord gino would only deal With a certain amount of people.
He would never have direct Contact with some of The underlings.
He would more or less Shield himself from the amount Of people who could damage him.
narrator: Most accepted Lord gino's leadership, Except for lady q.
When word got back That gino's authority Was being questioned, He asked her to visit him At stateville prison.
narrator: She became Lord gino's private liaison And greased the wheels With some of his Most important allies, The prison guards.
narrator: Under lord gino's Guidance, the kings were taking Over illinois' prisons.
narrator: In 1985, big t, An enforcer for the kings, Landed in prison On drug charges.
His punishment Only furthered his business.
The latin kings were growing.
Based on the teachings Of lord gino, the gang exploded Into new york And across the country.
narrator: Lord gino seemed Invincible until some say He crossed the line.
July 1989, stateville prison.
Lawrence kush, A corrections officer, Turned up bludgeoned to death With an iron pipe.
Kush, a law abiding officer, Had stumbled on the inner Workings of the kings' Drug trade.
The pris immediately suspected Lord gino had ordered the hit.
you're not going to just kill Or assault an officer Unless it comes from somebody Of authority, Because there's always Repercussions.
narrator: The warden ordered Stepped-up surveillance On lord gino.
But the prison never Charged him with the crime.
Lord gino was transferred To a correctional center In pontiac, illinois, In order to diminish His control of stateville.
The kingdom was under fire.
And before long, Fractures began to form At even the highest levels.
narrator: The almighty Latin king and queen nation, Bo and bred In the humboldt park Neighborhood in chicago.
The oldest and largest Hispanic gang in america, It can be found In almost every state.
narrator: The super gang Follows an intricate system of Rules, symbols, and hierarchies Dreamed up by the king of kings, Gustavo colon, aka, lord gino.
narrator: That organization Starts with the gang's Structure, which mimics A corporation.
In chicago, it's divided Into regions: Montrose, humboldt park, South chicago, little village, And crown town.
Inside each region Are dozens of chapters Which are largely divided By neighborhood.
The chapters and regions Are governed by an elaborate Hierarchy that begins With the two coronas, Lord gino and bk.
Then come regional officers, Similar to generals.
narrator: The power Flows downward.
At the top of each chapter Are incas, The highest ranking officers.
The cacique, Spanish for "chief," Is second in command.
Each chapter has an enforcer Who makes sure everyone Follows the rules.
Finally, there are The latin kings soldiers, The backbone of the gang.
narrator: The street soldiers Patrol the streets, Guarding the kings' turf From rivals like The satan disciples.
"sd," satan disciples Killer.
King disrespecting The satan disciples.
narrator: In a city Like chicago, Recruiting is a top priority.
There's no age limit Or race requirement.
And recruits come From all over the metro area.
All that matters Is their willingness To put in work.
narrator: The kings call Potential recruits "the new generation.
" The first step to joining The nation is enduring A brutal violation.
Big t ordered scores Of these beatings.
you got any tattoos on you? narrator: The recruits Might also have to commit a Crime as proof of their loyalty.
you check him already? pull up your pants, man.
Where you stay at? narrator: It's only after Passing these physical tests That a recruit can learn The teachings of the nation.
The soldier must memorize the Rules and swear to honor them.
narrator: To the latin kings, Every letter, every word, Every action Stands for something.
"almighty" stands for "a love measured in great Harmony towards yahweh.
" And "latin" is "latin american Tribe illuminating naturally.
" And "kings" is "knowledge Indestructible nobility Growing strengths.
" And "nation" is "natural allies Together in one nucleus.
" narrator: The latin queens Are also a critical part Of the gang.
They're recruited and expected To perform.
narrator: Latin kings And queens promise to follow Five guiding principles: once a king, always a king.
No king shall engage In gay acts.
No kings are supposed to be Collaborating with the media.
And no king is to leave the Nation without the approval From las coronas.
And one king moves, All kings move.
narrator: Those who break The rules are disciplined At weekly meetings.
during these gang meetings, They have their leader, Who plays the judge.
You have a legal coordinator Who has to represent the guy.
And they decide, "well, this Person's going to get Kicked out of the gang," If he's going to get violated.
narrator: In this case, A violation refers To physical punishment.
This video shows the violation Of a soldier who didn't Carry out an order To kill a rival.
the cacique ordered Everybody to get in a circle, Which they normally do For the meeting.
After that, Everybody in that house Was told to beat that Latin king gang member.
They gave him basically A minute violation, Head to toe.
The gang members were getting Tired after about a minute.
They stopped.
And the inca said, "no, no, no.
Continue, continue.
" narrator: The nation's Ultimate discipline Is called the "gold crush.
" narrator: Mercy Isn't guaranteed.
narrator: The latin kings' Colors are sacred.
narrator: Their favored Symbols are the crown And the lion, Icons of courage and pride.
Tor: The crown Also shows up in their tags, Which mark their territory.
The kings on chicago's South side, who are largely Of mexican decent, Traditionally represent With the five-point crown.
The five points represent Love, honor, obedience, Sacrifice, and righteousness.
narrator: All latin kings Who represent with the crown Know one thing for certain: Death is never far away.
king of kings, Maker of the universe, Our foundation of life.
narrator: As this video From 1990 shows, those who fall Are given the ultimate respect.
The king being honored here Was shot and killed A few days earlier By a rival gang member.
king love yesterday, Today, tomorrow, Always, and forever.
narrator: Death may be A reality for the kings, But the message to other gangs Remains clear.
If you mess with one latin king, You mess with the entire nation.
narrator: 1989, Pontiac, illinois.
The brutal murder Of a prison guard Led to the transfer Of latin king leader lord gino To pontiac prison.
The move, intended to cut off His control of the latin king Nation, had no effect.
narrator: But trouble Was brewing in the kingdom.
For more than five years, Sonia rodriguez, lady q, Had been lord gino's girlfriend And helped him run the nation.
narrator: Lady q caught wind Of a rumor that one of Lord gino's closest associates Was a snitch.
Gino didn't buy it.
narrator: Soon, lady q Made a request of the corona.
She was tired of the life And asked lord gino to retire.
narrator: Lord gino refused.
narrator: Lady q Walked away from gino And her standing As the queen of queens.
It didn't take long For lord gino to find A replacement.
In 1990, He was transferred again, This time to menard Correctional facility, 350 miles south of chicago.
There he legally married Marisol rodriguez.
Like lady q before her, She became his eyes and ears.
narrator: Lord gino's power Seemed undiminished, And he was close to being A free man.
In 1997, lord gino Was finally eligible for parole After spending 25 years In various prisons.
He had no idea that, Behind the scenes, the atf Had been quietly building A federal case against him, Uncovering proof Of his drug business.
he had numerous cell phones, Even as cell phones were Starting to become new wave, He had a network that he was Able to communicate With people on the outside.
narrator: Lord gino Was granted parole and scheduled To be released from prison.
The nation was prepared To receive its king.
narrator: At the last minute, The atf dramatically Took lord gino into custody Before he even left his cell.
gino colon was taken out On a stretcher And bound to the stretcher.
We knew that if we went down There in force and showed up, We were causing A possible problem for The prison population.
narrator: Gino's wife, Marisol, was also charged With conspiring to distribute Cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
The latin kings were stunned.
narrator: Lord gino was Found guilty of 18 charges Ranging from drug conspiracy To using a telephone to Facilitate a drug felony.
He was sentenced To life imprisonment And transferred To the United States Supermax in florence, colorado.
narrator: For the first time, Lord gino was put in lockdown, Confined 23 hours a day And allowed only two phone calls A month.
It was a blow To the latin kings, But they wouldn't go down Without a fight.
From 1997 to 2003, The latin kings expanded Their criminal enterprise In chicago.
latin kings were heavily Involved in the fake green cards For aliens.
They were making A lot of money off of that.
narrator: The gang had other More sinister scams.
they started to create Legitimate businesses, Any type of business That's a cash business, Because you're allowed To funnel money through it.
narrator: In December 2003, Five years after lord gino's Arrest, a joint task force Mounted yet another major Offensive against The latin kings: Operation broken crown.
For three years, the task force Gathered hundreds of hours Of secret tapes, wires, And recordings, Including this violation Of a gang member.
But the investigation's Prime focus was on the Latin kings' second in command, Fernando "ace" king.
that number two has been Sort of the target spot For the feds.
narrator: The task force Laid a trap for ace and the gang Using snitches inside The latin kings.
One informant posed as a Drug dealer and gave ace a kilo Of fake cocaine In return for protection.
narrator: On December 5, 2006, The feds sprung their trap.
Ace was picked up At his mother's house And charged with drug conspiracy And cocaine distribution.
I believe we had an excess Of 100 undercover recordings With fernando king Either in person or maybe On the telephone, A quick phone call.
narrator: Ace and 34 other Latin kings were arrested On charges ranging from Conspiracy to possess And distribute cocaine To being a felon In possession of a firearm.
34 were found guilty And sentenced between 5 to 40 years in prison.
Fernando "ace" king Was found guilty of all charges.
His sentence is still pending.
The task force had succeeded With operation broken crown.
But there would always Be more kings Where ace had come from.
narrator: For nearly 40 years, the latin kings Have ruled chicago.
Their leader, lord gino, The almighty corona, has spent Most of that time in prison.
Gino is now in exile In the colorado supermax prison, Cut off from the nation He built from behind bars.
His power is diminished But not extinguished.
narrator: The atf and Cook county sheriff's department Joint task force says that with 35 convictions of high-ranking Latin kings, operation Broken crown was a success.
They admit, however, That their investigation Only focused On chicago's south side, Leaving the rest of the city Untouched.
Some say they should've thrown A wider net.
narrator: Chicago authorities Track down the latin kings Every day on these streets.
narrator: However, They are realistic About their efforts.
When one king goes down, Another pops up.
I don't really think We can ever win it.
I think all we can do Is slow it down.
and that's just Being realistic.
I think we can slow it down.
narrator: The sting serves As a warning to the next leader Of the latin kings.
it's gonna be the choice Of the next latin king Who wants to be the next Fernando king, And does he want to take A chance of being infiltrated in The future and possibly arrested And, you know, spending the rest Of his life in jail? That's the chance that That person has to take.
narrator: To some kings, The risk of arrest or even death Is no longer worth taking.
Lady q left the nation For good in the 1990s After she ended her relationship With lord gino.
narrator: She left With lord gino's blessing.
It wasn't as easy for big t To make that choice.
narrator: Big t did Pay the price, choosing to be Violated out of the gang.
narrator: He still lives In chicago but reveals little About his current life.
Big t admits that, At the end of the day, He's still loyal to the gang.
narrator: For every king That walks away, thousands more Remain in the nation.
Some say they're writing A never-ending story That will keep someone On the throne forever.

Previous EpisodeNext Episode