Charges added for 2 accused of being gang leaders

Published August 26, 2006

TAMPA - Authorities filed new charges Thursday against two men accused of being leaders of the Latin Kings, after a raid of the gang's statewide meeting Sunday.

Edwin "King Papo" Deleon, 27, and Michael Victor Lugo, 28, each faced a charge of conspiracy to engage in racketeering, punishable by as much as 30 years in prison.

Prosecutor Thomas Palermo said both men have served as the First Crown or Inca, the gang's top leader in Florida. They already were in custody in Hillsborough on charges related to the kidnapping and beating of another local gang leader, Alexander Valdez, 23, of Town 'N Country, authorities said.

Omari Elijah Tolbert, 31, had been out on bail for charges stemming from that May beating but found himself back in jail Thursday night on a charge of conspiracy to engage in racketeering.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Walter Heinrich set Tolbert's bail at $500,000. Tolbert was a Latin Kings leader in Tampa, said Palermo, part of the team that had been investigating the gang for 15 months.

Deleon and Lugo each have an $800,000 bail, jail records show.