Gang Arrests Connected to Big Spring Shootings

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING--Seven people were arrested in Lubbock and Midland on drug charges last week.  Some of them, members of the Latin Kings gang.  Officials say they may be responsible for a May drive-by shooting in Big Spring, that killed three people, including a pregnant woman.

These drug arrests are the result of a lengthy and ongoing investigation into the operations of the Latin Kings.  According to a 12 page affidavit from the DEA'S office in Lubbock, Jose Nava and members of the ALKN fired the shots that killed Michael Cardona, Valarie Garcia and her unborn child, just seven months ago.

While they're not pointing fingers at these suspects yet,  Big Spring officials say the Latin Kings are behind the shootings.  "They're involved.  We believe they're involved. At this time we're not saying they did the shooting, but we believe, as a group, the Latin Kings were involved," Sgt. Tony Everett with the Big Spring Police Department, said.

Despite his confidence in their involvement, Sgt. Everett tells NewsWest 9, there's a good reason why no one has been arrested for these deaths, "You can think you know a lot of things but until you can prove them, it's another thing.  You have to get proof and that's what we're doing.  We're trying to build a case and it's going to take time.  Especialy when you're dealing with an organization like this."

Officials say Jose Nava,  known as "King Chino", is the Texas leader of the Almighty Latin King Nation.   Following the May shooting, Everett says, many members left town and headed to Lubbock, "Once they were involved in the shooting here and the pressure we put on them, it just drove them out of town.  That's what we believe because we became more and more focused on them."

That made things a little quieter around Big Spring.  "It's a lot more calm than it was.  We still do have some Latin King members here, but they're very quiet at this time," Everett explained.

Big Spring police are working closely with the DEA and local and federal prosecutors.   Everett says this investigation is far from over, "We're going to just keep pushing until we get these cases resolved."

Four of the suspects arrested in Lubbock were scheduled to appear in federal court on Wednesday to face drug  charges.  The Midland couple, Luis Nava and Cecily Juarez will be in federal court on Friday morning for a detention hearing.