The Chicago Syndicate: Two Six Nation
Showing posts with label Two Six Nation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Two Six Nation. Show all posts

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Insane Chicago Way - the Untold History of Local Latino Gangs

You wanna be a punk gang member or do you wanna be a gangster? This guy there has his pants hanging off his ass—the gang member standing on the street corner. This guy there has got tunnel vision, only sees so far. . . . This guy here—the gangster . . . is going to all the fine restaurants and nightclubs and going to political fundraisers, getting things done."

These are the words of Sal Martino, or at least the man called "Sal Martino" in criminologist and author John Hagedorn's most recent book, The Insane Chicago Way (University of Chicago). Concealing Sal's identity was paramount.

"We had to be careful not to be seen together by anyone from the world of organized crime, gangs, the media, or law enforcement," Hagedorn explained in a musty Lakeview home lined with books and potted plants, where academics, students, activists, and onetime major gang chiefs gathered together to celebrate the publication of The Insane Chicago Way: The Daring Plan by Chicago Gangs to Create a Spanish Mafia.

Sal and Hagedorn met in seedy hotels and dingy restaurants with few customers in places far from the west-side neighborhood known as the Patch, where members of the local Mafia are known to reside. "We also met in private locked cubicles in libraries across the city. I registered under my name and almost always gave the reason for the meeting 'Law Enforcement.'"

In the privacy of those locked cubicles, Sal told Hagedorn stories he had never heard before. "Now, I'd been doing gang research for almost 30 years," Hagedorn told me. "I doubted that anything some guy I'd never heard of could say was something I hadn't heard many times before. I was wrong." Hagedorn later corroborated the facts with his own gang contacts. What began to take shape was the daring plan of gang leaders incarcerated in Statesville—Fernando "Prince Fernie" Zayas from the Maniac Latin Disciples, Anibal "Tuffy C" Santiago from the Insane Spanish Cobras, and David Ayala from the Two Sixers—to create a local Latino Mafia.

In 1989 they established one of the most structured gang organizations in Chicago: the Spanish Growth and Development (SGD). With a strict set of rules, dispute-mediating mechanisms, and exclusively Latino membership, SGD was driven by the urgent need to control bloodshed on the streets.

By 1990, murders had hit dizzying heights, with more than 40 shot in Humboldt Park alone. "Killing people and doing drive-by shootings is bad for business," Sal said. "All it does is bring the attention of law enforcement. When law enforcement has all eyes on you, no one can make any money. And there is billions and billions of dollars out there to be made."

In an effort to overcome deadly rivalries between Hispanic gangs, SGD created an intergang structure modeled after the Chicago Mafia. "The agenda was power," Sal explained. The Insane Chicago Way posits that the Mafia exerts a larger influence on contemporary gangs than law enforcement believes, mostly through a complex network of "associates" who act as middlemen between the two criminal organizations.

SGD members also infiltrated and corrupted the police, either by paying "bones," a percentage of drug profits, to cops, or by entering the CPD as double agents. "Gang researchers have largely avoided investigating police misconduct and official corruption," Hagedorn contends in his book. His detailed account of the guisos ("robbery of drug dealers") carried out by crooked police officer Joseph Miedzianowski and later by the CPD Special Operations Section is merely a glimpse of police corruption and its profound impact on gangs. "Without the cops, none of this stuff could happen," cracks the Don, a Mafia elder.

Hagedorn confesses that the book is partly an attempt to understand why SGD could not stop the rampant violence on the west side. "Police, the press, and the public all saw the carnage as irrational and basically about turf, revenge, or drugs," he writes in The Insane Chicago Way. The collapse of the SGD left in its wake fractured gangs and a breakdown in gang leadership. "I'm doing these juvenile life-without-parole cases," Hagedorn told me. "I got 100 kids coming back to Cook County Jail waiting for resentencing. And they can't believe the disorganization of gang members today. It is all up in the air. The structure has been broken."

I asked Hagedorn how his book was received by the gangs. "It has been making the rounds," he laughed. "Word on the street is I got it right."

Thanks to Annette Elliot.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Imperial Gangster Leader Convicted in 5 Murders, 1 Attempted Murder and Other Gang-Related Crimes

A leader of the Imperial Gangsters street gang was convicted by a federal jury in the Northern District of Indiana of five counts of murder in aid of racketeering, one count of attempted murder in aid of racketeering, one firearms count related to the attempted murder, one count of engaging in a RICO conspiracy, one count of engaging in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics, and related offenses.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David A. Capp of the Northern District of Indiana made the announcement.

Juan Briseno aka “Tito”, 25, of Hammond, Indiana, was part of a 24-defendant indictment alleging that members of the Imperial Gangsters committed 13 homicides in East Chicago, Hammond and Gary, Indiana. The indictment also charged a decade-long racketeering conspiracy that involved 19 additional attempted murders and the large scale distribution of cocaine and marijuana. Sentencing is scheduled for June 15, before Chief Judge Philip P. Simon of the Northern District of Indiana.

According to evidence presented at trial, the Imperial Gangsters had a standing rule to shoot on sight any rival gang member. They also had a policy to shoot anyone selling drugs in their neighborhood without their permission. Briseno was convicted of five murders, which the evidence demonstrated were committed pursuant to the gang’s policies and in furtherance of the 149th Street Imperial Gangsters, a violent clique of the Imperial Gangsters based in East Chicago.

The evidence further demonstrated that Briseno exercised a leadership role in the gang, in which he supervised the “shorties, or prospective members of the 149th Street Imperial Gangsters. Briseno expressed no remorse for his participation in various murders, and indeed bragged about killings and encouraged others to do the same.

With regard to the specific murders, the evidence at trial demonstrated that Briseno knocked on Luis Ortiz’s apartment door in Hammond, Indiana, on Sept. 26, 2007, and shot him dead in the doorway to the apartment. Briseno targeted Ortiz because he was a member of the rival Latin King Street Gang.

Additionally, the evidence demonstrated that Briseno committed the double murder of Miguel Mejias, a Latin King living in Imperial Gangster territory, and Michael Sessum, an associate of Mejias, while they were unarmed and bringing takeout food to their pregnant girlfriends on June 3, 2008. During that murder, multiple shots fired by Briseno entered Mejias’ residence, striking a female victim in the arm while she was holding her infant child. Another pregnant female victim and multiple minor victims were also in the apartment at the time of the shooting. According to testimony at trial, Mejias implored another individual to tell Briseno that he was no longer “gangbanging” and did not want any trouble. In response to this message, Briseno said, “[explecetive] him, he was going to bring [Latin] Kings into our neighborhood.”

The evidence at trial also demonstrated that Briseno and his associates murdered rival Two-Six gang member, Miguel Colon, on Feb. 7, 2010, as Colon came out of a party. In this incident, Briseno and Colon exchanged gunfire, endangering numerous innocent individuals who were in the vicinity.

Finally, the evidence at trial demonstrated that Briseno murdered Latroy Howard on June 19, 2010, for selling drugs in an Imperial Gangster-controlled neighborhood without the permission of the gang. A video introduced at trial showed Briseno circling the block in his car and then walking up on foot and shooting the unarmed Howard twice in the head at point-blank range.

Monday, August 25, 2014

8 Members of Two Six Nation Indicted on Racketeering, Drug & Murder Charges

Eight purported street gang members have been indicted on racketeering and drug trafficking charges in federal court in northwest Indiana.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the Two Six Nation street gang – which has roots in Chicago, and has spread into northwest Indiana – uses a cartoon rabbit with a bent ear as a symbol, but federal prosecutors allege the warm and fuzzy ends there.

David Capp, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, and Chicago U.S. Atty. Zach Fardon said the gang’s violent crimes are numerous, including allegations they regularly moved hundreds of pounds of illicit drugs and killed at least two people.

“My message to those who are members of, or who continue to associate with violent street gangs – we are coming after you, and you are next” Capp said.

“Violent street gangs like the Two Six move drugs and guns and violence. We will follow,” Fardon said.

James Trusty, the Chief of Organized Crime in the U.S. Justice Department, said there are more than 40 alleged crimes detailed in the indictment against eight members and associates of the Two Six Nation, including:


  • Frank “Pumpkin” Perez Jr., 33, of Verona, Pennsylvania;
  • Adron “AWOL” Herschel Tancil, 36, of East Chicago;
  • Jesus “Chu Chu” Valentine Fuentes, 39, of Gary, Ind;
  • Anthony “P-nut” Cresencio Aguilera, 35, of Portage, Ind.;
  • Oscar “Cos” Cosme, 41, of East Chicago;
  • Ester “Mama D” Carrera, 61, of Gary;
  • Paul “Big Brock” Brock, 27, of Gary;
  • and Alma Delia Carrera, 28, of Gary.


“The indictment alleges that the Two Six Nation orchestrated and carried out a series of brutal crimes; including murders, kidnapping, drug trafficking, robberies, and other offenses spanning more than two decades,” Trusty said. “The gang brandished weapons like sawed-off shotguns and AK-47 assault rifles.”

Tancil, Fuentes and Cosme are charged in the May 2003 murder of Julio Cartagena in East Chicago. Another purported gang member, Kiontay Kyare Pennington, has pleaded guilty to murder for his role in the slaying.

Perez is charge in connection with the July 1999 murder of Jose Pena Jr. in Whiting. Perez made headlines in 2011 when he was arrested in Pennsylvania for Pena’s murder, following a shootout with police.

Capp said the work of the Chicago Police Department’s gang intelligence was invaluable to the case.

Federal prosecutors used the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act to go after the gang – a tactic once reserved for the mob – to charge them with an ongoing criminal conspiracy.

“This is our third use of the federal RICO statue over the past few years against a violent street gang in northwest Indiana. We are going to continue to use this powerful tool to get these individuals off the street,” Capp said.


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