Ex-Latin Kings gang member says prison, drug overdose led him to Jesus

Andy 'Rebirth' Pellerano speaks to Fox News opinion host Jesse Waters on May 4, 2024.
Andy "Rebirth" Pellerano speaks to Fox News opinion host Jesse Waters on May 4, 2024. | Screengrab: Fox News

A former Latin Kings gang member-turned-pastor said he came to faith in Jesus Christ only after he did time behind bars and nearly died from a heroin overdose. 

Andy "Rebirth" Pellerano, a pastor at One Accord Ministries in Avondale, Louisiana, told Fox News opinion host Jesse Waters that he was once an active participant in drug trafficking, robbery, and other crimes before he found Christ.

"It was just the wrong influences, listening to the wrong voices, just gravitating to the wrong things and being out there," Pellerano told Watters.   

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"I was around 14, 15 years old, and I let five grown men jump me so I could be their friend, as I like to put it," Pellerano said. "So what would I have to do to keep that friendship? And it led to [charges of] first-degree attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated criminal damage. It was gang-related. I was 16, I made 17. I was charged as an adult."

After he went to prison, Pellerano helped start a gang called "King Blood Nation," which was a fusion of the Latin Kings and the Bloods, with him as the leader. 

Pellerano said he started to feel remorse for his actions when his daughter, who was 5 or 6 years old, visited him while he was behind bars, and he had to explain why he was in prison. 

"Watching my kids grow up in pictures; watching my kids, you know, not being able to come visit me because I'm going to maximum security," Pellerano said. "It killed me because my daughter didn't know her identity because her father wasn't in her life. And that's what I look at going on in society today. People do not know their identity because they're not in their father's life."

Pellerano said after he suffered a near-fatal overdose, he decided that church needed to be part of his life because it was “God that brought me back.” 

"The Bible says, ‘In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God,'" Pellerano added, quoting John 1:1. "This is my life, my story, so I have to tell it. I have to share it. And if God could do this in my life, what could He do in your life?"

According to the website the Gang Enforcement Company, the Latin Kings are "one of the most violent gangs in the United States today, with leaders unafraid to order 'hits' on law enforcement and correctional officers with followers unashamed to obey their orders."

"Founded in the 1940s by a small group of Hispanics in the Chicago, Illinois area, the purpose of the organization was to help the Hispanic community achieve a better way of life by preserving the Hispanic culture and promoting education," explained GEC.

"However, the Latin Kings have evolved into a nationwide criminal organization with chapters in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Florida, California and Illinois."

Earlier this year, Latin Kings member Jason Wagner, aka “King Ace,” was sentenced to 31 years in prison after being found guilty by a grand jury in Miami, Florida, of sex-trafficking two women. According to authorities, the sex-trafficking was not apparently tied to his gang affiliation.

Nicole VanDyke is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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