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updated: 2/15/2012 6:02 PM

Elgin police charge gang members with illegal contact

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  • Jonathan Castenada

      Jonathan Castenada

  • Leo Perez

      Leo Perez

 

Elgin Police have made their first arrests of gang members barred from being in contact with each other since the department filed a lawsuit against the Latin Kings in 2010.

Jonathan Castenada, 20, of the 600 block of North Crystal Street, and Leo Perez, 19, of the 500 block of North Airlite Street, both of Elgin, were charged with unlawful contact with a gang member after a traffic stop shortly before 1 a.m. Feb. 3 near the intersection of McLean Boulevard and Meyer Street, according to officials.

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Lt. Glenn Theriault said the charge is a misdemeanor -- as were the other charges against both men. Both were also charged with consumption of alcohol by a minor and Castenada was charged with obstruction of a police officer and obstructing identification after he fled the car during the traffic stop and gave officers a false name when he was caught.

"This isn't a huge one in terms of the weight of the arrest but we hope the impact of it will spread," Theriault said, adding that the department "meant business" when it filed the civil suit with the Kane County States Attorney's Office.

Officers stopped the vehicle after someone threw a beer can out of the window of the car, Theriault said. Two other passengers were charged with consumption of alcohol by minors. Fabian Pena, 18, of the 1300 block of Todd Farm Drive and Melinda Rodriguez-Mundo, 19, of the 100 block of South Gifford Street, both from Elgin, are scheduled to appear in court with Castenada and Perez Feb. 24, according to police.

The lawsuit against the Latin King gang members prompted an order from the courts prohibiting contact among named gang members. The suit itself grew out of the 1993 Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act. Elgin police sued in hopes it would proactively decrease gang violence and criminal activity.

"We are committed to utilizing all legal avenues against street gangs in the Elgin area," Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said in a prepared statement. "This is just another demonstration of our resolve to combat gangs."

McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi announced a similar suit Tuesday.

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