The Chicago Syndicate: Black Disciples
Showing posts with label Black Disciples. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Black Disciples. Show all posts

Friday, July 31, 2020

Reputed Leader of Black Disciples Street Gang Darnell "Murder" McMiller" Among 23 Defendants Charged in Federal Drug and Gun Investigation #Chicago

The alleged leader of the Black Disciples street gang in Chicago is among 23 individuals facing criminal charges as part of a federal investigation into drug and gun trafficking on the city’s South Side.

During the multi-year investigation, law enforcement seized 24 firearms, more than 13 kilograms of cocaine, more than a kilogram of heroin, approximately 1,350 grams of heroin laced with fentanyl, approximately 750 grams of fentanyl or fentanyl analogue, approximately 378 grams of crack cocaine, $52,595 in suspected illicit cash proceeds, and distribution quantities of suspected MDMA pills. Much of the alleged drug and gun trafficking occurred in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.

Indictments and criminal complaints unsealed this week in U.S. District Court in Chicago charge 22 of the defendants with various drug or firearm offenses, while one defendant faces bank fraud charges. The defendants were arrested and have begun making initial appearances in federal court.

Included among the defendants is DARNELL MCMILLER, also known as “Murder,” who is described in the charges as the current leader of the Black Disciples street gang in Chicago. Several other alleged high-ranking members of the Black Disciples were also charged and arrested, including CLARENCE JANUARY, who allegedly leads the gang’s “Dog Pound” faction, and KENNETH BROWN, who allegedly supplied the gang with drugs for distribution in Chicago. CHARLES KNIGHT, an alleged high-ranking member of the Gangster Disciples street gang, is charged as part of the probe with supplying narcotics to McMiller’s crew.

The investigation was led by the FBI and Chicago Police Department, with assistance from ATF, DEA, IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA), and the FBI Windy City Task Force.

The Black Disciples are a national street gang that is prevalent throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. According to the charges, members of the Black Disciples have been distributing narcotics and guns in the Englewood neighborhood and other parts of Chicago. The charges describe more than 50 illicit transactions in which alleged Black Disciples members sold guns or drugs to individuals who were cooperating with law enforcement. In many instances, the cooperating individuals surreptitiously video-recorded the transaction at the direction of law enforcement.

The complaint against McMiller, 34, of Chicago, accuses him of conspiring with Knight, 56, of Riverdale, to distribute fentanyl-laced heroin to a cooperating individual on Sept. 30, 2019. The transaction occurred in the 7000 block of South Lowe Avenue in Chicago, the complaint states.

Brown, 59, of Chicago, is charged with conspiring with alleged Black Disciple member TERRENCE MORRIS, 48, of Chicago, to distribute heroin in March 2019. During the investigation, law enforcement carried out a court-authorized search of a South Side storage unit rented by Brown and discovered 13 kilograms of cocaine, which were individually wrapped in sealed packages, the charges state.

January, 27, of Chicago, is accused of trafficking three handguns in the summer of 2019. He had previously been convicted of a felony firearm offense in the Circuit Court of Cook County and was not lawfully allowed to possess the guns. Several other convicted felons were also charged with unlawfully possessing firearms, including rifles and a shotgun furnished to members of the Black Disciples.

Charged with federal drug offenses are: McMiller; Knight; Brown; Morris; ALONZO BROOKS, 49, of Chicago; SHONGO COLLIER, 48, of Riverdale; LAWRENCE DRAUS, 41, of Crestwood; FREDRICK STEWART, 47, of Chicago; TONY REDDING, 44, of Chicago; RAMONT AUSTIN, 39, of Chicago; FRANKLIN REDDING, 46, of Chicago; BARRY MICKIEL, 49, of Chicago; BRIAN BILLUPS, 40, of Plainfield; JOSEPH ANDERSON, 43, of Chicago; and SANTANA STEELE, 36, of Chicago.

Charged with federal firearm offenses are January; ANTOINE MCDANIELS, 44, of Chicago; DEANDRE MARTIN, 32, of Chicago; WILLIE ALFORD, 45, of Chicago; TRAVIS WASHINGTON, 24, of Chicago; WENDELL KEMP, 55, of Chicago; and SHAWN HUDSON, 48, of Harvey.

Charged with bank fraud is JOHN ECTOR, 47, of Chicago.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office holds gun offenders accountable through Project Guardian and Project Safe Neighborhoods – the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategies.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office has deployed the Guardian and PSN programs to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, including by prosecuting individuals who illegally possess firearms.  Additional federal law enforcement resources were recently allocated to Chicago under Operation Legend, which will enhance existing efforts by federal law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with state and local law enforcement offices to fight violent crime.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Gregory "Bowlegs" Chester, Hobos Gang Leader, Gets 40 years in prison

As the reputed boss of the Hobos super gang, Gregory "Bowlegs" Chester ran a narcotics empire that peddled massive quantities of cocaine, crack and heroin, federal prosecutors said. But it was in his darkest hours, in the moments when Chester's life was threatened by another gang's gunfire or by federal authorities closing in that prosecutors say Chester showed the true measure of his power.

After Chester was shot outside his girlfriend's apartment building, the Hobos went after the rival Black Disciples street gang they believed responsible, according to prosecutors. In September 2007, a team of Hobos tracked down the gang's leader, Antonio "Beans" Bluitt, as he left a funeral home, killing him and a passenger in a car with so many shots that Chicago police ran out of placards to mark the spent shells. A cigar was found still hanging from Bluitt's mouth.

In April 2013, after the feds arrested Chester on heroin distribution charges, Hobos lieutenant Paris Poe cut off an electronic monitoring device and gunned down informant Keith Daniels outside the Dolton apartment where he had been moved by authorities for his safety, according to prosecutors. Dressed in all black and wearing a mask, Poe shot Daniels more than a dozen times in front of his fiancee and two young children, authorities said.

On Thursday, Chester, who was convicted with five other reputed Hobos leaders of racketeering conspiracy charges alleging the gang carried out eight murders over a decade, was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Chester, 40, made a brief statement to the judge, saying, "I want to apologize to the court and my family for my behavior and ask that you please have mercy on me. That's it."

Prosecutors had sought life in prison, calling Chester "unrepentant and a disease to society." But Chester's lawyer, Beau Brindley, argued that while evidence linked his client to the Hobos "enterprise," he wasn't a killer and didn't deserve a life sentence.

In handing down his sentence, U.S. District Judge John Tharp described Chester as the "most influential" Hobo and said he shared culpability in the murders, but the judge drew a distinction between Chester and the triggermen.

Tharp called it a "tragedy" that Chester didn't use his skills, energy, ambition and entrepreneurial spirit to help others better their lives. "He made the choice to use those talents to advance the cause of evil," the judge said.

Later Thursday, Tharp sentenced Stanley "Smiley" Vaughn, another reputed Hobos leader, to 20 years in prison, the maximum possible, for his involvement in two slayings and five attempted murders. Vaughn, 39, was ordered to serve the sentence on top of a nearly 22-year prison term he is already serving for a separate conviction for conspiring to distribute heroin downstate.

"If that is the functional equivalent of a life sentence, he's earned it," the judge said.

Three other reputed Hobos gang leaders — Poe, Arnold Council and Gabriel Bush, who were convicted with Chester and Vaughn — are scheduled to be sentenced.

Following a marathon 15-week trial that ended in January, the jury found that Poe, Council, Bush and Vaughn carried out five murders, some by themselves or with one other. But the jury held those four as well as Chester and William Ford responsible for all eight murders by its guilty verdict on the racketeering conspiracy count.

Prosecutors alleged that the Hobos represented a new breed of gang that was made up of members from various gangs who once were rivals. Many of the Hobos started in the now-demolished Robert Taylor and Ida B. Wells public housing complexes from factions of the Gangster Disciples and the Black Disciples street gangs, according to prosecutors.

Formed after the larger gangs in Chicago began to fracture, prosecutors said, the Hobos were "an elite killing team" that transcended traditional gang rivalries and welcomed people from rival gangs "so long as they demonstrated the necessary willingness for violence and crime."

The Hobos ruled by fear, terrorizing the South and West sides from at least 2004 through 2013, robbing drug dealers of narcotics at gunpoint and instilling fear through violence, including 16 shootings in addition to the eight murders, according to prosecutors.

Using high-powered weapons, the Hobos opened fire on one victim outside a day care, another at a crowded block party. The Hobos went after informants, too, killing one outside a barbershop.

The gang's killings were calculated, well-planned and meant to send a message that its members were "a force to be reckoned with and that they would go to the most extreme lengths for power and money," prosecutors said in a court filing this week.

Not since El Rukn trials two decades ago had so much violence been alleged against a single gang.

Some witnesses at the trial appeared intimidated by the gang's reputation for violence. Several testified only after warnings they would be held in contempt of court. But Mack Mason, a former auto body shop employee, refused to take the stand, saying some of his family still lived in the area that the Hobos operated in. The judge ordered him jailed for 60 days.

Testifying in October, former NBA player Bobby Simmons said he couldn't remember details of the night he claimed he was robbed at gunpoint of a necklace worth more than $100,000 outside the Ice Bar in River North in 2006. It was only after Simmons was confronted with his own grand jury testimony that the Chicago native and former DePaul University star acknowledged Poe had snatched the diamond-studded necklace from his neck, then fired at least 14 shots at his truck as Simmons gave chase across the South Side.

The centerpiece of the case was the alleged murders of two informants who were cooperating with law enforcement against the gang. Jurors heard evidence that Poe and Council fatally shot Wilbert "Big Shorty" Moore outside a South Side barbershop in 2006 because they believed Moore had provided information to police that led to a raid on a Hobos residence.

After prosecutors rested their case in early December, the trial took a dramatic twist when Chester made the unusual decision to testify in his own defense. In three days on the witness stand, Chester admitted to dealing drugs but denied he was the leader of the Hobos and even went as far as to suggest that the gang did not exist.

Chester, who walks with a severe limp due to a childhood bone disease, denied taking part in any shootings or killings and scoffed at the notion that anyone with a disability could be the head of such an allegedly violent enterprise.

He also sought to distance himself from Daniels' killing, saying he had no motive to order the hit even though Daniels' cooperation had led to Chester's arrest on drug charges days earlier. Chester told the jury his mother was good friends with Daniels' mother and that she had already lost another son to violence.

"Keith Daniels is like family to me," Chester testified. "His mother is like my mother. I mean, I felt her pain. I know what she went through, and I wouldn't ever want to see her go through anything like that again."

During a tense cross-examination by prosecutors, Chester's memory grew hazy on many points. The cross-examination nearly derailed when prosecutors asked Chester about an elaborate arm tattoo depicting a pair of eyes — and what appear to be horns — overlooking the now-razed Robert Taylor Homes along with the word "Hobo" and the phrase "The Earth is Our Turf."

Chester testified that the tattoo was a tribute to a slain friend nicknamed Hobo and that the eyes represented God looking down over the public housing projects where they were raised.

Some of the trial's most dramatic testimony came from Daniels' fiancee, Shanice Peatry, who testified she saw a gunman walk up to their car and open fire though the front windshield while she sat with Daniels and their son and daughter, then ages 4 and 6.

Peatry said she instinctively ducked into the back seat to push the kids to the floor while Daniels bailed out of the passenger side and fell to the ground. The gunman took his time, she said, walking over to Daniels and standing over him, pumping round after round into his chest as their children screamed.

"It was so many (shots) I couldn't count," said Peatry, pausing at times in her testimony to shake her head and draw a breath. "It kind of felt like it was in slow motion to me, like he wasn't in no rush."

Before he jumped into a waiting SUV, the assailant walked close enough to Peatry for her to see dreadlocks sticking out from under his mask and peer into his eyes. She knew instantly it was Poe, she said.

Two weeks later, the jury watched a heartbreaking video interview of Daniels' son talking about what he'd witnessed that day. Seated at a low table with colored markers in front of him, the boy fidgeted and kicked his feet as the interviewer coaxed details out of him.

"I was covering my ears because those gunshots was too loud," the boy said. "My sister said, 'Don't get out, Daddy! Don't!' ... My daddy got out and that's when he got shot in the leg. ... He tripped over a rock. He was on the ground and he got shot again."

Thanks to Gregory Pratt.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Walter Blackman, High Ranking Leader of the Black Disciples, Sentenced for Narcotics Distribution

A high-ranking leader of the Black Disciples street gang was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after being convicted of narcotics distribution. The defendant, WALTER BLACKMAN, 52, of Gary, Indiana, pleaded guilty in August 2014 to distribution of illegal narcotics. Today’s sentence was imposed by United States District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang. Blackman has been in federal custody since his arrest in April 2013. He must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

Blackman was a high-ranking leader of the Black Disciples street gang in Chicago. He distributed drugs—including crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and heroin—and controlled the Black Disciples gang members’ drug trafficking in the city of Chicago’s far south side, including the violence-plagued Roseland and Altgeld Gardens communities. According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, Blackman admitted that he had approximately 500 subordinate gang members underneath his control in his territory in “the hundreds,” being part of the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago named for the three-digit streets.

Blackman’s charges in this case, namely sixteen counts of drug distribution, are a small sample of his larger drug trafficking operation in and outside the Black Disciples street gang—an operation that encompassed multiple drug types, multiple years, and multiple states. The defendant was a repeat and large scale supplier of controlled substances, selling and distributing crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and heroin in the Chicago area and elsewhere, including Wisconsin, to numerous wholesale customers.

The Court held Blackman responsible for distributing approximately 4,000 grams of crack cocaine, 1,000 grams of powder cocaine, and approximately 390 grams of heroin. Blackman also possessed firearms during his drug trafficking activities.

“This sentence holds the defendant accountable for the narcotics enterprise he controlled, and for his role in the accompanying gang and gun violence that harms our communities,” said Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. “I want to thank our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners for their brave and outstanding work which has resulted in a major impact on this street gang’s narcotics operation and illegal activities,” Mr. Fardon added.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Federal Charges Brought Against 8 Alleged #BlackDisciples Gangsters, Accused of Dealing Narcotics in Chicago

A federal investigation targeting narcotics trafficking on the west and south sides of Chicago has resulted in charges against eight alleged members of the Black Disciples street gang. The charges are contained in eight separate criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago and unsealed following the arrests of six of the defendants. The charges were announced by Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Each of the defendants faces one count of distribution of a controlled substance, either cocaine or heroin. One of the charged individuals was arrested in Peoria, and five others were arrested at various locations in and around Chicago by members of the FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force. One defendant avoided capture and is considered a fugitive.

Those charged with distributing heroin are identified as John Smith, aka “Dope Boy,” 34, of 3050 Bella Court, Lisle, Illinois; Randy Porter, 37, of 1329 N. Stever Avenue, Peoria; Nigel Webb, aka “Niger,” 36, of 3101 West Monroe Street, Chicago; Sylvester Hudson, aka “Cool J,” 39, of 2001 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago; and Jethro Lacking, 37, of 7148 South Green Street, Chicago.

Those facing cocaine distribution charges are identified as Tavares Garrett, aka “Toot,” 34, of 545 North Monticello Avenue, Chicago; Gerard M. Liles, aka “Keppis,” 30, of 2930 West Harrison Street, Chicago; and Darnell McMiller, aka “Murder,” 28, of 1615 West 78th Street, Chicago.

The investigation that led to the charges began in 2010 and is part of the ongoing coordinated efforts by federal, state, and local agencies and departments to dismantle drug trafficking organizations operating in and around the Chicago metropolitan area. Agents and officers employed the use of sophisticated surveillance techniques and the controlled purchases of narcotics. According to the complaints, each defendant engaged in the sale of narcotics with individuals who were cooperating in the investigation. To date, the investigation has resulted in the recovery of one handgun and the seizure of approximately seven kilograms of powder cocaine, 1.3 kilograms of crack cocaine, 3.5 kilograms of heroin, one vehicle, and over $28,000.

Those taken into custody appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judges in Chicago and Peoria, and all were ordered held pending their next scheduled court appearances. The defendants face maximum penalties of 20, 30, or 40 years or life in prison. Depending on the charged offense, some may also face a mandatory minimum sentence of either five years or 10 years. The defendants also face maximum fines ranging from $1 million to $10 million.

Defendant Gerard M. Liles remains a fugitive and is the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

The Chicago FBI’s Safe Streets Gangs Joint Task Force is comprised of FBI special agents and officers from the Chicago Police Department.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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