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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)
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
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