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Not guilty plea in money laundering case; ruling near on Latin Kings’ injunction

Updated: August 15, 2013 6:51AM

An Aurora man remains in jail after pleading not guilty this week to a second round of money laundering charges against him.

Mario Alvarez Vargas was originally charged last year on nearly 50 counts of illegally handling around $140,000. Vargas was free on bond last month when authorities arrested him after a court appearance on additional counts involving $26,000.

According to prosecutors and court documents, Vargas would deposit money into various bank accounts across multiple counties and then withdraw it elsewhere as a way to avoid paying taxes.

Vargas is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 21.

Arraignment reset in break-in charge

An arraignment scheduled for this past week was rescheduled in the case of a North Aurora break-in robbery earlier this year.

Quintin Mullen, who is now in prison on a drug conviction from DuPage County, is accused in the March 1 incident at a duplex on Laurel Drive. He faces charges of home invasion, armed robbery, aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated cruelty to animals and criminal damage to property.

Police previously said Mullen and another man broke into the home. Mullen stole a safe as the other suspect held residents at gunpoint. At one point, the other man fatally wounded the residents’ dog. Police said the incident was drug related.

Mullen is now scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 7.

Decision expected on gang injunction

The judge handling Aurora’s lawsuit against members of the Latin Kings street gang is expected to issue a ruling Friday on requests to dismiss the case.

The lawsuit filed in 2012 seeks an injunction against the men which would generally bar them from gang activities or associations. Of the 35 initially named in the suit, four are now subject to the restrictions when default judgements were issued after they failed to formally respond to the case. One of those men, Gabriel Berrios, was arrested July 5 after police observed him with two documented gang members. Berrios, who was charged with unlawful street gang contact, is scheduled for a hearing on July 16. A second man had his default judgement vacated recently, court records show.

The remaining active defendants have collectively argued for the case to be thrown out on the grounds that they believe the restrictions sought by Aurora are unconstitutional. The suit is based on provisions of the Illinois Street Gang Terrorism Omnibus Act.

While the injunctions put limits on overt gang activity, they also prohibit the wearing of so-called gang “colors” of yellow and black, gold and black or red and black. And, while the men are prohibited from any gang activity throughout Aurora, they are restricted from being in an area bounded by Rural Street, New York, Ohio Street and Lincoln Avenue unless they live, work or have relatives within that territory, the injunction states.

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