Officials announce QC gang members face racketeering charges

Local News

Fifteen defendants have been charged in a 37-count racketeering indictment against the Davenport-based Lowrider Criminal Street Gang.

Four additional members and associates of the gang have been federally charged in a Superseding Indictment, says a news release from the Department of Justice Acting U. S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal,  Southern District of Iowa. (A superseding indictment must be obtained the same way as the original indictment—through a grand jury. The superseding indictment can include different charges, new charges, or add new defendants.)

In addition to added defendants, a federal grand jury has charged members and associates with a racketeering conspiracy spanning from around 2013 to the present.

Racketeering is acquiring a business through illegal activity, operating a business with illegally derived income, or using a business to commit illegal acts.

In total, members and associates of the Lowrider Street Gang have been charged with five separate shootings and one stabbing against rival gang members between August 2015 and June 2020, the release says.

Westphal and Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski announced the charges.

In August 2020, charges were previously announced for 11 members and associates of the Lowriders for various crimes including attempted murder in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking, tampering with witnesses, knowing transfer of a handgun to a juvenile, lying to a grand jury, use of persons under 18 years of age in drug operations, and firearms charges. Five members or associates of the Lowriders have been charged in state court for intimidation with a dangerous weapon, willful injury, criminal gang participation, and drug-related offenses.

Two other members were previously charged with federal firearms violations.

In November 2019, Alejandro Francisco Herrera Jr., was sentenced after pleading guilty to prohibited person in possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance.

In February 2020, Zacharia Allen Clark was sentenced to 200 months of imprisonment after pleading guilty to a prohibited person in possession of ammunition related to an incident in which he shot at another person in the parking lot of a Davenport nightclub.

As a result of the investigation, 22 Lowrider Street Gang members and associates have been charged with crimes.

Those arrested on federal charges include

  • Andres Joseph Arriaga
  • Adan Herrera
  • Antonio Herrera
  • Arnoldo Herrera
  • Cody Herrera aka Cody Williamson
  • Eduardo Herrera Sr.
  • Mario Herrera
  • Tevin Maxwell Lira  
  • Angel Mora
  • Austin Nichols
  • Jose Miguel Pena
  • Kerri Joanne Reitz
  • Carmelo Reyes
  • Jacob Trujillo

The identities of those who have not yet been arrested remain sealed at this time, the release says.

In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations, Bettendorf Police Department, Moline Police Department, and Scott County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.

“The law-abiding citizens in these neighborhoods deserve to feel safe from violent gangs such as the Lowriders, and their criminal rivals,” Westphal said.

“Along with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively pursue this goal of community safety and use every available state and federal prosecution tool to charge those individuals committing these acts of violence.” Authorities allege the Lowrider Street Gang is a criminal enterprise that engaged in racketeering activity, namely offenses involving controlled substances; acts involving murder; and acts relating to the tampering with a witness, victim, or informant.

The gang and its members are alleged to have preserved and protected the profits of the gang through the threatened or physical use of violence and kept victims and witnesses in fear of the street gang through these threats of violence.

In addition, it is alleged that the gang provided support to gang members who were incarcerated for gang-related activities; and retaliated against acts of violence perpetrated against the street gang including acts of violence against rival gangs known as the West Side Mafia and Latin King street gang.

The Lowrider Street Gang allegedly operated and conducted their affairs through a series of rules and policies, held regular meetings at which they discussed, planned, and otherwise engaged in criminal activity and initiated new members through the practice of causing them to endure physical assaults conducted by members of the gang at various gang-related gatherings.

Officials also say members agreed to distribute drugs, recruited juveniles to commit violent acts for the gang’s benefit, and agreed or conspired to commit acts of violence, including acts involving murder, against rival gangs.

The charges in the indictment carry maximum penalties of between 10 years and life imprisonment. If the suspects are convicted, the court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

There is no parole in the federal court system.

“The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” the release says.

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