Alleged Members of U.S. Gang Arrested for Murder and Racketeering

U.S. authorities indicted on Monday 13 alleged leaders, members, and associates of a Chicago criminal organization, in a multi-faceted case that includes racketeering, the murder of more than a dozen rival gang members, and the use of violence in enforcing the city’s West Side illicit drug trade.

Police Line Crime SceneU.S. authorities indicted 13 alleged leaders, members, and associates of a Chicago criminal organization, in a multi-faceted case that includes racketeering, the murder of more than a dozen rival gang members, and the use of violence in enforcing the city’s West Side illicit drug trade. (Photo: Tony Webster, Wikimedia, License)The indictment alleges that the suspects are associated in varying degrees with the Wicked Town faction of Chicago’s Travelling Vice Lords street gang.

The Travelling Vice Lords itself is a branch of the Almighty Vice Lords Nation (AVLN), one of the oldest and largest Chicago street and prison gangs with roughly 35,000 members. Other branches of the AVLN include, but are not limited to, the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, the Executioner Insane Vice Lords, and the Imperial Insane Vice Lords.

In investigating the gang’s activities, U.S. authorities say the 13 alleged members are linked to multiple violent crimes including at least 19 murders, 19 attempted murders, and several armed robberies and assaults.

All but one have been charged by police for conspiracy to commit murder, with two members facing as many as seven murder charges each.

Authorities also say the gang is a major proponent of Chicago’s West Side drug trade, and are not averse to using extreme and violent measures in enforcing their control over it.

The 21-count indictment goes on to claim that members of the Wicked Town faction carried out contract killings not only to strengthen the gang’s hold over various criminal enterprises, but also to cement and augment the member’s own standing within the organization.

Several firearm and drug trafficking charges have also been set before the defendants.

Operating primarily out of Chicago’s Austin neighbourhood, police claim the gang makes use of “trap houses,” in which they store guns and drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

Investigators have noted that the criminal organization utilizes social media in promoting their activities. Examples include taunting rival gangs and even boasting about murders and other violent acts, the indictment states.

“In bringing this racketeering indictment, we are seeking to hold accountable those who played a central role in significant gang violence on the West Side of Chicago,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch, in a statement aimed at highlighting law enforcement’s success in reducing gun violence and gang activity, two significant indicators used in determining a society’s perceived level of safety.

Past attempts at progressing the case against the street gang are said to have encountered setbacks through their use of witness intimidation, authorities claim.

Conviction under racketeering charges carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Combined with the other charges, many of the alleged gang members are facing a life sentence.

Though capital punishment was repealed in the state of Illinois in 2011, the indictment says that several of the defendants could also face the death penalty if convicted of certain murder charges.