Member of kidnap-torture crew sentenced to 50 years

A member of a violent crew that kidnapped and robbed rival drug dealers, netting millions of dollars in cash and drugs, was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Wednesday in federal court.

The crew included corrupt Chicago narcotics police officer Glenn Lewellen, who faces sentencing later this month.
 
U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall handed down the sentence on Hector Uriarte.
 
Prosecutors sought life in prison, pointing to his violent conduct over numerous years and a rap sheet with 30 arrests beginning at the age of 12.

But Gottschall said she was impressed by the little time Uriarte had previously spent in custody as well as letters from relatives who praised him as a strong family man. He faced a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 42 years.

“I really don’t think that it makes much sense … for anyone to think about Mr. Uriarte going on a crime spree” after he is released, Gottschall said.
 
Uriarte – who is 34, according to his attorney – would be in his 60s before he could be freed from prison.
 
For more than a decade, the crew  robbed, tortured and kidnapped mostly drug dealers for cash and drugs. Its leader, Saul Rodriguez, was Lewellen’s paid informant for many years. He cooperated with authorities and testified at trial for the prosecution.

According to prosecutors, Uriarte often was armed with guns or knives while holding his victims hostage.

One victim was a 68-year-old grandmother, they said.

“I don’t wish anybody to live through what I lived through,” one victim, Pedro Avila, said of the ordeal in court papers.
 
Yet Uriarte’s legal team painted a sharply different portrayal.
 
Despite an abusive home while growing up, Uriarte played a central role in his family, including for his nieces and nephews, said his lawyer, Molly Armour.

jmdelgado@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Businessman Donald Trump brought his nascent bid for the Republican presidential nomination to town Monday, warning that crime in Chicago is "out of control" and hurting the city's image worldwide.

  • South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    I have been to the Grammy Awards. I have had features written about my music in Billboard, XXL, Jet and other magazines I've always loved. Oprah Winfrey told me to my face that she loves my dreads and purple eyebrows. My music is played on TV shows and movies, and I write about my opinionated views...

  • 'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    2012’s “Magic Mike” and its sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” could have been so stupid, and I’m sure those who haven’t seen either one assume that they are. I mean, think of how cheesy a movie about male strippers could be. Based on the commercials, they barely seem like movies at all—just two-hour thrust-athons...

  • Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples deals in pessimism, for good reason. The Long Beach rapper has seen a lot of violence and despair in his 21 years. He'll tell you about it too, in unflinching clarity that few artists his age possess. There’s little if any hope in his music. Yet even with the darkness oozing out of...

  • RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything, from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

  • RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

Comments
Loading