Chesterton Tribune



Admitted gang member gets 25 years for attempted murder while on parole

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An admitted member of the Imperial Gangsters street gang has been sentenced to more than 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana said.

Armando Jose Velasquez, aka “Money,” 27, of East Chicago, was sentenced on Thursday to 305 months in federal prison, in connection to his attempted murder in 2011 of a person whom he mistakenly believed to be a member of a rival gang, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

According to court documents, on Dec. 3, 2011, Velasquez fired a gun into a car being driven by an 18-year-old resident of East Chicago, striking the victim three times. “Velasquez believed that the victim was a rival gang member but the victim was not actually a gang member and was not involved in any criminal activity,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

At the time of the shooting Velasquez was on state parole, after being sentenced in Lake Superior Court in 2005 to 12 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Velasquez was part of a 24-defendant indictment alleging that members of the Imperial Gangsters committed 14 previously-uncharged homicides: 12 in East Chicago, one in Hammond, and one in Gary. The indictment also charged a decade-long racketeering conspiracy which involved the attempted murder of 19 other victims and the large scale distribution of cocaine and marijuana, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Velasquez is one of 22 defendants charged in the indictment to plead guilty, the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted. One defendant, Richard Reyes, was convicted by a jury of murder and conspiracy to commit racketeering activity in January and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 30. The remaining defendant is scheduled for trial in January 2015.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI, and the East Chicago Police Department, with assistance from the Gary Police Department, the Hammond Police Department, and the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program.




Posted 7/25/2014