Leader of Cheko’s Crew/7th Street Gang Pleads Guilty to RICO Charges, Admits Role in Four Murders and Five Attempted Murders
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Efrain Hildalgo, AKA Cheko, 28, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. RICO conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The gun charge carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life, a $250,000 fine or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant was a member of the Cheko’s Crew/7th Street Gang which was responsible for multiple acts of violence and the distribution of illegal narcotics on the West Side of Buffalo between 2000 and 2012. The narcotics included heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, and marijuana.
The defendant admitted his role in the murders of four people including:
- November 11, 2004 murder of Nelson and Miguel Camacho in their Niagara Street residence. Josue Ortiz served 10 years in state prison for these murders. His conviction was recently vacated by an Erie County Court judge based on the findings of this federal investigation.
- August 11, 2009 murder of 10th St. Gang associate Eric Morrow.
- June 5, 2010 murder of Virgil Page on 19th Street.
Hildalgo also admitted his participation in the attempted murders of five rival gang members including Desmond Ford, Darnell McIntosh and Edwin Rivera.
A total of 18 defendants have been charged in this case. To date, six have been convicted.
The pleas are the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 17, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.