Latin Kings leaders deny they belong to the Mob

4th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 May 2007, MADRID - The three reputed leaders of the Latin Kings gang denied in court the group is a criminal organization.

4 May 2007

MADRID - The three reputed leaders of the Latin Kings gang denied in court the group is a criminal organization.

Ecuadorians Eric Javier Jara and Jose Fabricio Icaza and Spaniard Maria Torres Oliver, accused of being among the top leaders of the gang, testified on Thursday on the first day of the trial of 14 accused gang members in the Madrid provincial court.

Prosecutors have requested sentences of seven years behind bars for Jara and Icaza and nine years for Torres on charges of criminal association, coercion, making threats and injuring people.

In his statement, Jara denied belonging to any "band, gang or criminal organization," but he said that he was part of "a group of people with the aim of fostering common objectives" and helping one another because they were compatriots.

Jara came to Spain in 1999 and worked as a mechanic, a gardener and a construction laborer and, he told the judge, his work allowed him "to almost head a marketing firm," for which he studied at the university.

He denied founding the Latin Kings, as prosecutors have claimed, and he said he had never pressured anyone or ordered any attacks on anybody, since the group prohibited "any verbal, physical or moral aggression" against others.

He said that any fear that people could have had of the Latin Kings stemmed from the "alarm" created by the media because "they're taking things that have nothing to do with us, many people believe it and many others are earning money" from it.

Jara said in his testimony that the group he belonged to also prohibited "any attack, the consumption of drugs, robbery (and) lack of respect for parents."

The prosecution says that Jara, who is currently serving a prison term for rape, joined with Icaza and Torres in February 2000 to found the so-called "Sacred America Spain Tribe of the All-powerful Nation of the Latin Kings."

Jara has been in prison since 2003, but the indictment says that he "has never at any time ceased leading the band, giving orders to its members, making and revoking nominations" for the different posts within the gang.

Icaza, known by the alias of "King Baby Black" and currently in a maximum security prison, also admitted being a member of the band and said that its objective was "for us to help each other with the discrimination there was."

Icaza added that in the band "nobody orders anyone, we're all just individuals," and he added that the aim of the outfit is "fighting racism" and insisted that "we don't have anything against Spaniards."

With regard to his former girlfriend and co-defendant Torres, Ocaza said that she was "the person least deserving of being here."

Torres also admitted being part of the "Latin Queens," but said she decided to leave the group just a year later because she did not like "the way things were going," although - she said - she never saw anyone receive a beating or any other violent act.

She said that "institutionalized machismo" prevailed in the band, but added that they did not follow the "rites or guidelines of the men" and explained that the women were "the appendix of the organization" because they did not have any decisionmaking power.

Torres said that the money they collected was allocated toward "the children of the organization, food baskets, diapers and books," adding that "we helped who we could" denying that the money they got from their activities was used for drugs, weapons or to pay the bills of lawyers who defended the gang's leaders in prison, as the prosecutor claimed.

The prosecution considers it a proven fact that the group's raison d'etre was violence and death between rival gangs, especially Ecuadorians with the "Ñetas" gang and that the hierarchy within the outfit was established through the violence of its members. EFE

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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