A member of a Dodge City street gang targeted in a federal racketeering case has pleaded guilty to assaulting what he thought were members of a rival gang, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Tuesday.
Humberto Ortiz, 20, Dodge City, pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering. In his plea, Ortiz admitted that on Aug. 27, 2011 in Dodge City, he and other gang members assaulted what they thought were members of the Sureño street gang. At the time, Ortiz was a member of Los Carnales Chingones, a street gang in Dodge City associated with the Norteño street gang. He was accompanied by members of the Diablos Viejos, who also were associated with the Norteño gang.
According to a press release from Grissom's office, during a confrontation at a party at 703 9th Avenue in Dodge City, Ortiz and four associates accused the victims of being Sureños, which the victims denied. When a fight began, two victims were stabbed. One of the victims, Gabriel Rivera, received life-threatening injuries and was flown to a hospital in Wichita for treatment.
A public records search revealed Rivera as having no criminal history or record of gang involvement in Ford County.
In his plea, Ortiz admitted that while he was an associate of the Norteños, the gang was engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise that employed acts of violence including murder and robbery to protect and expand the gang's operations.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 28. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Ortiz was initially charged in Ford County District Court for the offenses but the case was dismissed May 22, 2012. According to court records, the case was dismissed because Ortiz was indicted the previous week on charges stemming from the same incident. Another factor in the dismissal, the federal anti-shuttling statute, prohibits transport of a defendant from federal to state custody during pending trials in both jurisdictions.
Co-defendants awaiting trial include Jason Najera, 28, Dodge City; Fabian Neave, 25, Dodge City; Jesus Torres, 28, Dodge City; and Jose Neave, 23, Dodge City.
Torres' charges of attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder were dismissed in Ford County District Court earlier this month, but court records stated the charges my be filed again at a later date.
The remaining defendants, Ortiz, Najera, Fabian Neave and Jose Neave, were initially charged in Ford County for their involvement in the stabbing, the cases were dismissed May 22, 2012. According to court records, the cases were dismissed because all four men were indicted the previous week on federal charges stemming from the same incident. The federal anti-shuttling statute was again a factor in the dismissals.
The men were among 23 defendants indicted in May who were charged under the federal RICO Act (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.) The indictment marked only the second time federal prosecutors in Kansas have filed charges under RICO and VICAR (Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering).
Page 2 of 2 - Grissom commended the Dodge City Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Ford County Sheriff's Office, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith for their work on the case.
*A photo of Jose Neave was not available.