HAMMOND, IN - Justin Anaya, 21, of Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Philip P. Simon following his guilty plea to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity as a member of the Latin Dragon Nation street gang, announced United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson.
Anaya was sentenced to 420 months in prison followed by 2 years of supervised release.
According to documents in the case, Anaya had been a member of the Latin Dragon Nation (LDN) since 2017. As a member of the gang, Anaya conspired to conduct and participated in the affairs of the LDN street gang. As part of his involvement in the gang, he participated with other LDN members in the shootings of suspected rival gang members and associates. Specifically, in July of 2017, Anaya, along with another Latin Dragon member, stole a car in Hammond, Indiana. The next day, Anaya, accompanied by another Latin Dragon member, drove the stolen car through a rival gang neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. The other Latin Dragon member shot at a vehicle occupied by suspected rival gang members resulting in the death of a minor child who was in the vehicle. In November of 2017, in Chicago, Illinois, Anaya was in a vehicle with other Latin Dragon members chasing another vehicle. Anaya fired several shots at the occupants of the other vehicle and fatally shot a man who was in that vehicle. In addition to participating in criminal assaults, Anaya’s also participated in the LDN’s illegal drug and firearms trafficking activities.
“As this case demonstrates, this Office will vigorously prosecute persons who conduct illegal activities on behalf of criminal street gangs,” said United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson. “I thank all of our federal and state law enforcement partners who worked with this office on this case as, in my view, this joint effort has increased public safety for Northern District of Indiana citizens.”
“As a member of a violent street gang, the defendant terrorized the streets of Northwest Indiana and participated in senseless murders,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herb Stapleton. “The 35-year sentence reflects the seriousness of these crimes and sends a clear message that the FBI and our law enforcement partners will disrupt and dismantle these gangs and hold these criminals accountable for their violent acts.”
“Working closely with our local, state and federal partners is the most effective way to investigate and prosecute violent crime,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Kristen de Tineo. “I commend the diligence and commitment of each officer, agent and prosecutor who worked on this important case.”
The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Chicago Police Department Criminal Enterprise Unit; the Cook County Sheriff’s Office; the Bartlett Police Department; the Hammond Police Department; the East Chicago Police Department; the Merrillville Police Department; the Hobart Police Department; the Lake County Sheriff’s Department; and the Calumet City Police Department, with assistance from the Lake County, Indiana Prosecutor’s Office, the Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office, the Indiana Department of Corrections, and the Illinois Department of Corrections. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin F. Wolff and Michael J. Toth, with prior assistance from former Hammond Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph A. Cooley.
This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.