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Latin Kings Jail Sentences Are Upheld by Spanish High Court

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Spain’s Supreme Court upheld an “illegal association” ruling against members of the Latin Kings, which is the Spanish arm of a street gang targeted in many criminal prosecutions in the U.S.

The refusal to accept the group’s appeal of a lower court ruling was published today by the Madrid-based high court.

The organization was founded in Spain in 2000, in the middle-class neighborhood of Galapagar on the outskirts of Madrid, by Eric Javier Velastegui Jara, also known as King Wolverine, according to the court.

Velastegui Jara, now 35, formed the Sacred American Tribe of Spain of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, according to the high court. He adopted rules from an Ecuadorian street gang in forming the Madrid group and calling himself “Godfather,” the ruling said.

Born in Ecuador, Velastegui Jara was found guilty by a Madrid provincial court and sentenced to four years in jail in a decision that also gave jail sentences to other members of the gang.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd White in Madrid at twhite@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Timothy Coulter at tcoulter@bloomberg.net;

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