286: Cory McGookin – Latin Kings, Aurora Cold Case Murders

In this episode, retired agent Cory McGookin reviews the investigation he led targeting the Latin Kings operating in the city of Aurora and “Operation First Degree Burn,” a cold case multi-agency task force which resulted in the nation’s largest ever cold case murder takedown.

Thirty-one Latin Kings gang members were convicted of 22 murders going back two decades. For his work on this case, he was the recipient of several recognition and achievement awards, including the star of distinction from the Chicago Crime Commission. According to Wikipedia, The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, also known as simply Latin Kings, is one of the largest Hispanic and Latino street and prison gangs worldwide.

Special Agent (Retired)

Cory McGookin

1/2002 – 1/2022






“The Latin Kings were the problem. They were always initiating the violence and a lot of the other acts of violence were in retaliation.”—Retired Agent Cory McGookin

Cory McGookin served in the FBI for 20 years. He was first assigned to the Chicago Division in the West Resident Agency (RA), where he was on a gang squad that focused on the western suburbs, especially.

During his time at the West RA, Cory was also a member of the evidence recovery team. Later in his career, he became an instructor at the FBI Academy where he was the Confidential Human Source program manager for new agent trainees. He next transferred to the office of congressional affairs, where he served as a congressional liaison. Missing the casework, he eventually stepped down and returned to the case agent position at the Washington field office. He was on squads that worked intellectual property, computer crimes, and intelligence. Toward the last part of his career, he was selected for his dream job as a leadership instructor for the National Academy.

After several years of teaching both graduate and undergraduate classes to law enforcement executives, he was hand selected to serve as chief of National Academy, running the program until his retirement.

Currently, Cory is working as the Senior Vice President of Law Enforcement Relations for the non-profit Dedication to Community (D2C), bringing police and the community together. He also is the Coach Training Director for Performance Protocol, building strong and capable leaders within law enforcement agencies by providing personal and professional development.

Both positions allow him to continue spreading best practice lessons from the National Academy.

The following are links to articles about the Latin Kings, Operation First-Degree Burn, and the National Academy:

Chicago Tribune – 6/30/2007: Gang sweep targets decades of murder Gang sweep targets decades of murder

Press Release – Office of the Kane County State’s Attorney – 8/23/2012: 4TH MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON IN 2005 GANG BEATING MURDER

American Crime Journal – 10/6/2018: The Mysterious Disappearance of Lourdes Contreras

Lion wearing Crown






FBI Website – Anti-Gang Initiatives

FBI National Academy Associates

Listen to these FBI Retired Case File Review episodes about drug gangs:

Episode 103: Bob Clifford – MS-13, Mara Salvatrucha

Episode 238: Judy Tyler – Drug Kingpin Maurice Phillips, Death Penalty Case


Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. Wilson JohnsJune 25, 2023

    Episode 286. Aurora, Illinois Latin Kings and Queens
    The story of this small town’s turnaround from having a murder rate statistically the same as Chicago to having zero even though its population grew is simply incredible. Unbelievable is an over-used adverb but in this case it is true.
    The real icing on this delicious cake is the murdered 6 year old’s baby brother became an Aurora cop for all the right reasons.
    Jerri, this is the first time in maybe a thousand hours of podcasts that I became emotionally overwhelmed and cried.
    W O W

    1. Jerri WilliamsJuly 1, 2023

      Thanks for listening. I agree that the full circle moment at the end of the case review was extra special.


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