Twenty-six people were arrested and face state and federal drug and gun charges after law enforcement served 14 search warrants in Racine and Kenosha counties, and northern Illinois.
Flanked by numerous law enforcement officials during a press conference held Thursday afternoon, Justin Tolomeo, special agent in charge of the Milwaukee Division, said the drug raid took place early Thursday morning. The warrants were the end product of a year-long investigation with the Southeastern Wisconsin Gang Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional agency.
“As a result of these arrests, we’ve turned these neighborhoods into places where residents can live and work, and enjoy their communities free from the distraction of gangs, guns, drugs, and violence.” Tolomeo said.
The operation seized three handguns, more than 80 pounds of marijuana and cocaine along with methamphetamine pills, body armor, ammunition, $85,000 in U.S. currency.
In Racine County, the raids took place in Racine, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant.
The Racine Police Department and SWAT team, the Racine County Sheriff’s Department and SWAT team, the Kenosha Police Department, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office and SWAT team, the Sturtevant Police Department, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the Caledonia Police Department, New Berlin Police Department, the Milwaukee Police Department and the Wisconsin High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration of Milwaukee, the United States Marshals Service, the Milwaukee and Chicago FBI Field Offices participated in the raid.
“The majority of the warrants were executed in the city of Racine,” said Art Howell, police chief for the City of Racine. “There were no neighborhoods that were hit more than others. It was pretty well spread throughout the city of Racine.”
The 26 people arrested were leaders of the Maniac Latin Disciples street gang, who are expected to be charged with federal and state charges ranging from narcotics trafficking to armed robbery, according to a press release by the FBI.
The Maniac Latin Disciples have been in the area in various forms since the early 1990s and gang members have connections to Chicago.
“They are not a new occurrence in Racine,” said Todd Schultz, Deputy Chief of the Racine Police Department. “We’ve been focusing on them and gathering intelligence on them… the investigation itself was a yearlong, but the intel gathering on them has been going on for a few years.”
Two men — Eric Ynnocencio, 33, of Racine, and Fabian Melendez, 30, of Waukegan, Ill, remain at large.
“These subjects are considered armed and dangerous,” Tolomeo said. “We had them in the Racine and Waukegan, Ill area. We don’t have any reason to believe that they’ve gone any distance from there. But obviously in fugitive cases you don’t know. So we’re asking the public to reach out to us
If anyone comes in contact with the men, residents are asked to contact the FBI at (414) 276-4684 or local law enforcement officials.
The list of those apprehended are:
Gregory D. Tirado Jr., 28
Melissa Rios, 34
Juan Paul Guajardo, 41
Jose Perez, 42
Juan C. Ramirez, 32
Frederick A. Evans, 54
Martin Lazcon, 24
Brian Johnson, 22
Gregory D. Tirado Sr. , 46
Janet Serrano, 20
Tyler M. Christman, 26
Ashley Craddock, 20
Jason R. Lopez, 39
Bradley R. Sorenson, 25
Marelo Ortiz-Cartagena, 68
Ernesto N. Perez, 41
Marco A. Munoz, 25
Marcello Tirado, 19
Angel Reyes, 45
Eric Minkey, 38
Trevian Dumas, 22
Pedro Juarez, 36
We will update this story when additional details become available.