Jury trial begins for suspects in Dodge City RICO case

A jury trial got under way this week in U.S. District Court in Wichita for several alleged members of a Dodge City street gang who are charged with taking part of criminal enterprise involved in drug trafficking, robbery and murder.

A 38-count indictment unsealed last year alleged that 23 members of the Nortenos gang promoted its drug trafficking activities by creating a climate of fear through acts and threats of violence. The defendants were charged under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Four of the suspects were charged with taking part in the June 8, 2009, murder of Israel Peralta, who was shot to death as he and his friends were sitting outside in a trailer park on the south side of Dodge City.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.