Latin Kings sentenced in Molotov cocktail attacks

Three members of the Latin Kings, the notorious New York street gang, have been slapped with lengthy prison sentences following their convictions in connection with a shocking arson case in Borough Park involving Molotov cocktails.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced on Nov. 26 that defendants Emil Vazquez, 21, Juan Burkette, 30, and Casimiro Reyes, 21, who along with other members of the gang, were charged with planning and executing the arson of a Borough Park home, were sentenced by New York State Supreme Court Justice Albert Tomei.  Vazquez, who was convicted of arson in the first degree, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Burkette was convicted of arson in the first degree and was sentenced to 23 years to life.  Reyes, who was convicted of conspiracy in the second degree, was sentenced to six to 18 years.

The incident took place on March 1, 2010, according to Hynes, who said the street gang’s “Borough Park Homicide Squad” set fire to a Borough Park house in an attempt to kill a former gang member.  The three defendants, along with 15 other gang members, were indicted by a grand jury in July, 2010.

The target of the arson, Juan Kuang, 19, had been “stripped” of his Latin King status, over disagreements with the Borough Park Homicide Squad’s leaders, Hynes said.  After constant harassment by the Latin Kings, Kuang stabbed Latin King member Norman Vado, 21, the brother of the gang’s leader, Roger Vado. Juan Kuang is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for the stabbing of Norman Vado.

Roger Vado and the Borough Park Homicide Squad members were charged with setting the fire at Juan Kuang’s residence in retaliation for Norman Vado’s stabbing.

On two separate occasions, the gang members threw Molotov cocktails at two different Borough Park homes, where they believed Kuang was living, Hynes said.

One building, a multi-family unit where young children and an elderly woman lived, was completely destroyed in the fire.  The other targeted building was an apartment complex, of which the exterior, rear wall was scorched and damaged.  Noone was injured in either fire.

The case was investigated by the New York Police Department Gang Division’s Brooklyn South Gang Squad and the Fire Department of New York Bureau of Fire Investigation’s Citywide South/Special Investigations Unit.

The case was prosecuted by Anita Channapati, deputy bureau chief, and Leila Rosini, assistant district attorney, of the Gang Bureau. Deanna Rodriguez is chief of the Gang Bureau.