The Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA) hadn't been used in Weld County for a gang-related case until last week, when five men were indicted by a grand jury on a multitude of charges, including assault, witness intimidation and racketeering.
As a bonus, all of them, as well as many associates, boast bad-ass nicknames.
The quintet, who are scheduled to be making their first court appearance at this writing, include Rosendo Santa Cruz, aka "Kong," "Sir Kong" or "Malo;" Ramon Acevedo, aka "Ace;" Joseph Perez, aka "Abel;" Jeremiam Guajardo, aka "Reeper;" and Christopher Cox, who probably preferred the moniker "Crook" over the Caucasian-designating "Vanilla."
They're accused of associating with other members of the 18th Street Gang, which Greeley Police detectives boast of having investigated for fourteen years. Nicknames from this alleged gaggle of goons are equally memorable -- among them Psycho, Lucifer, Sun Bun, Wino, Biscuit, Sicko, Silencio, Creamy, Wicked, Little Boxer, Toro and two handles favored by a couple of well-known dwarfs, Dopey and Bashful.
As for the specific acts, they date back to 1994. On December 2, 1997, for instance, Sir Kong and Ace are said to have committed second-degree assault by using their hands and feet to abuse one Hector Gonzales while he was dying from a gunshot wound.
Look below to see booking photos of the men, followed by a Weld County DA's office press release outlining the case and the complete indictment.
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Weld County District Attorney's Office release:
GRAND JURY INDICTS 5 GANG MEMBERS UNDER THE COCCA CHARGE
GREELEY, Colo. -- A Weld County Grand Jury issued an indictment on Thursday March 17, 2011, for five members of the 18th Street gang based in Greeley, Colorado. All five defendants face several charges including one count of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA), a class two felony. The Weld County District Attorney's Office first presented the case to the grand jury earlier this month.
For the past 14 years, detectives with the Greeley Police Department (GPD) have been gathering information on individuals associated with the 18th Street gang. Three years ago, Greeley Officers and the Weld County District Attorney's Office began compiling the information needed to build a case based on the COCCA charge; this marks the first time that the COCAA charge has been used in a gang-related case in Weld County.
Two of the five defendants were already in custody at the Weld County Jail when the arrests occurred this past weekend; GPD Officers arrested two other defendants in Weld County and the fifth defendant was arrested in Wyoming. All defendants are being held on a $500,000 bond. The four defendants at the Weld County Jail have an appearance on their arrest warrant scheduled for March 22, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. in Division 16. The first court appearance for the defendant arrested in Wyoming has yet to be scheduled.
According to the indictment, between September 12, 1994, and March 17, 2011, Rosendo Santa Cruz, Ramon Acevedo, Christopher Cox, Joseph Perez and Jeremiah Guajardo were "associated in fact, although not a legal entity, unlawfully feloniously and knowingly participated, directly or indirectly in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity; in violation of 18-17-104(3) and 18-17-105, C.R.S."
The indictment also states, "The purpose of the enterprise alleged in County one is financial gain through illegal activities; to establish and maintain respect, power, control and influence over the entire gang sub-culture in prison and in the community through criminal activity, intimidation, fear and violence."
The 13-page indictment details various alleged criminal activities and charges each of the men currently face.
"Going after career criminals remains a high priority at the Greeley Police Department and these arrests are one more piece of that. We will be continuing these efforts into the future," said Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner.
Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck said, "The officers at the Greeley Police Department spent countless hours building this case. When they approached my office with their documentation, we discussed different ways to proceed. It was decided that utilizing the COCCA charge would be the most effective way to prosecute these defendants. The message we are sending is clear -- law enforcement will not tolerate gang activity in Weld County,"
11CR406: Rosendo Santa-Cruz, of Gill, Colorado DOB: 8/26/1977 Charges: COCCA -- Pattern of Racketeering, F2; Witness/Victim Intimidation, F4; Conspiracy to Commit Witness/Victim Intimidation, F5
11CR407: Ramon Acevedo, of Gill, Colorado DOB: 12/12/1973 Three felony charges: COCCA -- Pattern of Racketeering, F2; Witness/Victim Intimidation, F4; Conspiracy to Commit Witness/Victim Intimidation, F5
11CR408: Christopher Cox, of Greeley, Colorado DOB: 9/6/1981 Six felony charges: COCCA -- Pattern of Racketeering, F2; Witness/Victim Intimidation, F4 (two counts); Conspiracy to Commit Witness/Victim Intimidation, F5 (two counts); Second Degree Burglary of a Dwelling, F3
11CR409: Joseph Perez, of Greeley, Colorado DOB: 4/16/1990 Five felony charges: COCCA -- Pattern of Racketeering, F2; Witness/Victim Intimidation, F4; Conspiracy to Commit Witness/Victim Intimidation, F5; Aggravated Robbery, F3; Attempted Aggravated Robbery, F4
11CR410: Jeremiah Guajardo, of Cheyenne, Wyoming DOB: 3/2/1987 Three felony charges: COCCA -- Pattern of Racketeering, F2; Aggravated Robbery, F3; Attempted Aggravated Robbery, F4