The Chicago Syndicate: Hobos Street Gang
Showing posts with label Hobos Street Gang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hobos Street Gang. Show all posts

Monday, August 21, 2017

2 Members of Violent “Hobos” Street Gang Sentenced to Life in Prison on Federal Racketeering Charges

Two Chicago men became the fifth and sixth members of the violent “Hobos” street gang to be sentenced to life in prison on federal racketeering charges.

The Hobos were a criminal enterprise in Chicago that dealt narcotics, robbed from other drug dealers, retaliated against rival gangs, and violently prevented witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement. For nearly a decade the gang committed murders, attempted murders and robberies, primarily on the city’s south and west sides. All ten Hobos charged in the federal investigation were either convicted by a jury or pleaded guilty prior to trial. An eleventh Hobo died shortly before charges were brought.

DERRICK VAUGHN and WILLIAM FORD became the fifth and sixth members of the gang to receive life sentences. Three others previously received sentences ranging from seven to 40 years in prison. One defendant, RODNEY JONES, cooperated with the government and will be sentenced later this year.

The sentencings were announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Eddie T. Johnson, Chicago Police Superintendent; and Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. The Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Corrections and Illinois Secretary of State Police provided assistance.

Federal, state and local authorities uncovered the gang activity through an extensive investigation conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI Chicago Safe Streets Gang Unit. The Task Forces have been responsible for disrupting some of the Chicago area’s most sophisticated drug-trafficking organizations.

Evidence at the 15-week trial last year revealed that the Hobos were comprised of former members of other gangs that were once rivals. The Hobos allied together in order to more profitably distribute narcotics and establish control of territories on the south and west sides of Chicago. The Hobos were violent and ruthless, often using high-powered guns and assault rifles. From 2004 to 2013 the Hobos engaged in narcotics trafficking, home invasions and armed robberies, often of rival drug dealers. Members of the gang shared the wealth with each other, buying luxury items and taking trips to Hawaii and Florida.

In addition to the sentencings of Ford and Derrick Vaughn, U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. previously sentenced four other Hobos to life in prison on racketeering conspiracy charges: ARNOLD COUNCIL, PARIS POE, GABRIEL BUSH, and BYRON BROWN, all of Chicago. Judge Tharp previously sentenced GREGORY CHESTER, of Richton Park, to 40 years in prison; STANLEY VAUGHN, of Chicago, to 20 years in prison, which must be served consecutively to a 23-year prison term previously imposed in a separate case; and Gregory Chester’s cousin, GARY CHESTER, of Chicago, to seven years in prison.

The sentencing for Jones, of Chicago, is set for Nov. 20, 2017, before Judge Tharp. The eleventh Hobo, Byron Brown’s twin brother, BRANDON BROWN, was identified in the indictment as a coconspirator, but he died before the charges were brought.

Although the Hobos lacked a traditional hierarchy, Gregory Chester was recognized as its leader. When the Hobos learned that individuals were cooperating with law enforcement, the gang resorted to murder in order to prevent it. In 2006 Council and Poe fatally shot Wilbert Moore, whose cooperation with Chicago Police had led to state gun and drug charges against Council. In 2013 Poe shot and killed Keith Daniels after Daniels cooperated with the federal investigation that led to these convictions.

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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Six Members of Violent Chicago Street Gang, the Hobos, Convicted on Federal Racketeering Conspiracy Charges

A federal jury convicted six members of a Chicago street gang known as the Hobos of participating in a criminal organization that engaged in narcotics distribution and committed murders, attempted murders and armed robberies.

The verdicts were rendered after a 15-week trial in federal court in Chicago. In convicting the six defendants of racketeering conspiracy, the jury found the Hobos were a criminal enterprise that robbed from other drug dealers, retaliated against rival gangs, and violently prevented witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement. For nearly a decade the gang engaged in murders, attempted murders, robberies and narcotics distribution, primarily on the south and west sides of Chicago.

Federal, state and local authorities uncovered the gang activity through an extensive investigation conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the Chicago High Intensity Drug Task Force (HIDTA). The Task Forces have been responsible for disrupting some of the Chicago area’s most sophisticated drug-trafficking organizations.

The verdicts were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Eddie T. Johnson, Chicago Police Superintendent; and James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. The Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Corrections and Illinois Secretary of State Police provided assistance.

Convicted of racketeering conspiracy were GREGORY CHESTER, of Chicago; ARNOLD COUNCIL, of Chicago; PARIS POE, of Chicago; GABRIEL BUSH, of Chicago; WILLIAM FORD, of Chicago; and DERRICK VAUGHN, of Chicago.  Council, Bush, Poe and Vaughn were also convicted of committing murder in aid of racketeering.  Poe was convicted of committing murder to obstruct justice, and the jury convicted Council of using a firearm during a robbery of a clothing store.  The jury also convicted Ford on a gun charge and a drug charge.

The convictions carry maximum sentences of life in prison. U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. scheduled sentencing hearings for June 23, 2017.

The guilty verdicts bring to ten the total number of Hobos convicted in the case. Four members of the gang, including Chester’s cousin, pleaded guilty prior to trial. An eleventh Hobo was identified in the indictment as a coconspirator, but he died before the charges were brought.

Evidence at trial revealed the Hobos were comprised of members from other street gangs that were once rivals. The Hobos allied together in order to more profitably distribute narcotics, accumulate wealth, and establish control of territories on the south and west sides of Chicago. The Hobos were violent and ruthless, often using high-powered guns and assault rifles. Members of the gang shared the wealth with each other, buying luxury items and taking trips to Hawaii and Florida. Although the Hobos lacked a traditional hierarchy, Chester was recognized as its leader. From 2004 to 2013 the Hobos engaged in narcotics trafficking, home invasions and armed robberies, often of rival drug dealers.

When the Hobos learned that individuals were cooperating with law enforcement, the gang resorted to murder in order to prevent it. In 2006 Council and Poe fatally shot Wilbert Moore, whose cooperation with Chicago Police had led to state gun and drug charges against Council. In 2013 Poe shot and killed Keith Daniels after Daniels cooperated with the federal investigation that led to these convictions.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Details on Nine Alleged Members of Hobos Street Gang Indicted in RICO Conspiracy for Murders and Other Violent, Drug-Related Crimes

Nine defendants who allegedly directed or participated in a violent, drug trafficking street gang known as the Hobos were charged in a federal racketeering conspiracy (RICO) indictment with engaging in murders, attempted murders, robberies, and narcotics distribution. The five-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury alleges five murders, solicitation of a sixth murder, four attempted murders, three robberies, and the operation of “drug spots” and “drug lines” on the city’s south side among a pattern of criminal activity between 2004 and 2009.

Four of the defendants are charged with personally shooting to death five victims between 2006 and 2009, including one victim who was allegedly killed because he was cooperating with law enforcement.

The indictment charges that the Hobos Enterprise allegedly used violence to enrich its members and their associates; to promote and enhance the criminal enterprise; to preserve and protect its power, territory, operations, and proceeds; to keep victims and witnesses in fear; and to prevent law enforcement from detecting its crimes.

“The indictment portrays a gang with virtually no restraint on its ruthless use of violence to further its goals,” said Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. “The gang’s alleged murders, robberies, and drug dealing invited our employing the federal racketeering laws to prosecute the full scope of their crimes, some extending beyond the normal statute of limitations; and, if convicted, to bring the most severe federal sentences to bear for the terror that plagued the blocks and street corners they allegedly controlled.” The investigation is continuing, Mr. Shapiro added.

“This RICO indictment is the result of a long-term commitment we share with our law enforcement partners to address the dangerous threats facing our communities today. This investigation targeted an exceptionally violent group that used murder, threats, and intimidation to further their agenda. The charges demonstrate our focus and determination to strike at gang-related criminal enterprises and to eliminate the terror these groups inflict on our neighborhoods,” said Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Through the work of Chicago Police officers and our gang investigators, in close partnership with the FBI, IRS, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we are able to announce federal RICO charges against nine dangerous members of the Hobos gang,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy. “Today’s announcement should serve as a warning―we do not and we will not accept violence in our communities or in our neighborhoods. And we will do everything in our power to hold dangerous criminals accountable for the crimes they commit,” he added.

“Today’s indictment sends a loud message that we are committed to our law enforcement partners and the communities in which we live,” said James C. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. “Gang activity and criminal enterprises thrive on financial gain and perpetuate criminal violence on our streets. IRS-Criminal Investigation brings its financial expertise to an investigation, and we are privileged to be working with the Chicago Police Department and other federal law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe.”

The Illinois Department of Corrections also participated in the investigation. The Chicago Police Department initiated the investigation, which the federal agencies joined later under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the Chicago High Intensity Drug Task Force (HIDTA). The case is part of a sustained, coordinated effort by federal law enforcement agencies, working together with the Chicago Police and other state and local departments, to disrupt Chicago’s sophisticated, often violent, drug trafficking organizations.

Law enforcement has identified the Hobos as a tight-knit, violent crew that originated in the former Robert Taylor Homes and banded together from factions of the much larger Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples street gangs. They allegedly targeted drug dealers and high-value targets to rob and relied upon each other to protect their drug territory, retaliate against rival gangs, and prevent witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement.

All nine defendants were charged with racketeering conspiracy and are currently in state or federal custody. They, all of Chicago, are

  •     Gregory Chester, also known as “Bowlegs,” “Big Homie,” “Pops,” and “Desjuar Anderson,” 36, of Richton Park, identified as the leader of the Hobos
  •     Arnold Council, aka “Armstrong” and “Hobo,” 37
  •     Paris Poe, aka “Poleroski,” 33
  •     Gabriel Bush, aka “Louie,” 34
  •     Stanley Vaughn, aka “Smiley,” 36
  •     William Ford, aka “Joe Buck,” 33
  •     Gary Chester, aka “Chee,” 35 (Gregory Chester’s cousin)
  •     Byron Brown, aka “B-Rupt,” 28. Byron Brown’s deceased twin brother, Brandon Brown, is named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
  •     Rodney Jones, aka “Milk,” 26

Poe, Council, Bush, and Byron Brown were each charged with one count of murder in aid of racketeering, and council was charged with brandishing a firearm during a clothing store robbery. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of an unspecified amount of illegal proceeds.

All nine defendants will be arraigned on later dates in U.S. District Court.

According to the indictment, the murders committed by members and associates of the Hobos Enterprise included

  •     Wilbert Moore, who was killed because he was cooperating with law enforcement, by Council and Poe on January 19, 2006
  •     Terrance Anderson by Bush and others on September 1, 2007
  •     Eddie Moss by Byron Brown and others on December 14, 2007
  •     Larry Tucker by Bush, the Brown brothers, and others on January 20, 2008
  •     Kenneth Mosby by Byron Brown and others on May 12, 2008.

Gregory Chester allegedly solicited the murder of Antonio Bluitt, which occurred on September 2, 2007.

The attempted murders included

  •     Victim 1 by Council and Poe on June 11, 2006
  •     Victims 2 and 3 by Bush and Ford on June 5, 2007
  •     Victim 4 by Bush and Vaughn on June 27, 2007
  •     Victim 5 by Jones on November 5, 2007

The robberies included

  •     Victim 1 by Council and Poe on June 11, 2006
  •     the Collections Clothing Store by Council and others on November 8, 2008
  •     Victims 6 and 7 by Poe, Gary Chester, and others on March 25, 2009

The RICO conspiracy count further alleges that the Hobos and their associates operated drug spots and drug lines where they distributed user quantities of narcotics, at times using nicknames to identify their products. These locations included

  •     the building and area located at 4429 South Federal, within the former Robert Taylor Homes, which was controlled and managed by Gregory Chester and Council and drugs were sold under the nicknames “Green Monster” and “Pink Panther"
  •     the area around 47th Street and Vincennes Avenue, which was controlled by Bush and Vaughn and operated by Ford
  •     the area around 51st Street and Calumet Avenue, which was managed by the Brown brothers and Jones
  •     the area around 51st Street and Martin Luther King Drive, which was controlled by Bush

As part of the racketeering conspiracy, the defendants allegedly
  •     used gang-related terminology, symbols, and gestures, including the slogan “Hobo or Nothing” and a hand sign known as the “Hobo Horns”
  •     shared the proceeds of robberies and the trafficking of narcotics
  •     obtained, used, brandished, and discharged firearms in connection with the enterprise’s illegal activities
  •     managed the procurement, transfer, use, concealment, and disposal of firearms and dangerous weapons within the enterprise to protect their interests and further their goals
  •     monitored law enforcement radio frequencies and acquired radio equipment to detect and avoid law enforcement inquiry into their illegal activities
  •     had nominees obtain rental vehicles to conceal their use while committing illegal activities
  •     identified victims from whom they could obtain distribution quantities of controlled substances or large sums of money by robbing them
  •     conducted surveillance of intended murder and robbery victims, a practice referred to as “lamping” and “doing homework"
  •     restrained and murdered victims and witnesses to prevent their escapes and to prevent identification of themselves and their associates.

The RICO conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, or life for the four defendants charged with committing murders. Those four defendants―Poe, Council, Bush, and Byron Brown―also face a mandatory life sentence, or death, if convicted of murder in aid of racketeering. Only the Attorney General of the United States may decide later whether to seek the death penalty. The charge of brandishing a firearm against Council carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of seven years and a maximum of life in prison. If convicted, the court must determine a reasonable sentence to impose under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Otlewski, Erika Csicsila, and Derek Owens.

An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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