A dangerous fugitive eludes authorities in Northern California.
The south side of Milwaukee was home to a gang of drug dealers known as the Lopez Family. They owned seven houses in a two-block radius and used the location as headquarters for their drug empire. Anyone who got in their way had to face Arthur, the Lopez family’s hit man. When a rival gang called the Latin Kings tried to move in on their territory, a turf war erupted.
Carlos Hernandez was once a member of the Latin Kings. But according to his family, Carlos had recently left the gang and turned his life around. Gustavo Hernandez is Carlos’ brother:
Carlos organized a youth basketball league and worked for a city organization that helps kids stay out of gangs. Det. Dave Klabunde of the Milwaukee Police Department described Carlos’ role in the organization:
Police believe that Carlos tried to end the gang turf war, but was unsuccessful. So the hit man, Arthur Lopez, was told by the Lopez family to “take care of” Carlos. According to witnesses, Arthur Lopez and several family members surrounded the building where Carlos worked. According to Det. Klabunde, the gang had a predetermined code that would be broadcast over a radio when Carlos was spotted:
Authorities believe that around 4:30 pm, Arthur Lopez Jr. was alerted with the code. He put on a mask, hopped on a bike, and pedaled toward his unsuspecting target. Carlos was hit by eight bullets and died instantly in his car.
Though Arthur Lopez Jr. was the prime suspect in the killing of Carlos Hernandez, police had little evidence against him. Then Arthur made what seemed to be a small mistake. He got himself arrested for driving without a license. It would be the beginning of the end for the Lopez Family. While being processed at the police station, Arthur’s father, Arturo, showed up at the station and asked why his son was being harassed. Arturo was second in command of the Lopez gang. Det. Klabunde said that Arturo was enraged:
Arthur could not be held on the traffic charge and was released. But his father, Arturo, was arrested and convicted of threatening a police officer. Arturo was sentenced to 18 months in jail. Det. Klabunde said it was the chance police were looking for:
As authorities continued to build their case against the Lopez gang, there was another outburst of violence. According to witnesses, Arthur again played a key role. A known member of the Latin Kings named Maximillano Castillo and his girlfriend, Vanessa Rivas, returned home after a quick trip to the grocery store unaware that they were being followed. Police believe that the driver following them was Arthur and that his passenger was another Lopez gang member named Luis Acevedo. Luis confronted Max and began shooting. Vanessa, a completely innocent bystander and just 15 years old, couldn’t escape the hail of bullets. Asst. District Attorney of Milwaukee County, David Robles, described the trauma:
Authorities used Arturo’s taped phone calls from jail and eyewitness testimony of the shooting to obtain arrest warrants for Arthur and the rest of the Lopez family. A task force moved in to put the Lopez gang out of business for good. With a warrant secured, the police raided the homes of the Lopez family, seizing large stashes of guns, drugs, and cash. Eight people were arrested, finally ending the family’s crime wave.
Only one Lopez family member managed to escape the citywide dragnet: Arthur. Carol’s Hernandez’s brother wants him brought to justice:
Arthur Lopez Jr. has finally been captured and convicted and sent to prison.