The Chicago Syndicate

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Presidential Executive Order on Establishing the US Council on Transnational Organized Crime #OrganizedCrime

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. 
Transnational organized crime (TOC) poses a direct and escalating threat to public health, public safety, and national security. Transnational criminal organizations engage in a broad range of criminal activities, including drug and weapons trafficking, migrant smuggling, human trafficking, cybercrime, intellectual property theft, money laundering, wildlife and timber trafficking, illegal fishing, and illegal mining.

These networks continue to expand in size and influence in the United States and abroad. Transnational criminal organizations contribute directly to tens of thousands of drug-overdose deaths in the United States each year and adversely affect American communities and economic prosperity. They also threaten United States national security by degrading the security and stability of allied and partner nations, undermining the rule of law, fostering corruption, acting as proxies for hostile state activities, directly or indirectly funding insurgent and terrorist groups, depleting natural resources, harming human health and the environment, contributing to climate change through illegal deforestation and logging, and exploiting and endangering vulnerable populations. In some regions, transnational criminal organizations wield state-like capabilities, disregarding sovereign borders, compromising the integrity of democratic institutions and threatening the legitimacy of fragile governments, and securing their power through intimidation, corruption, and violence. For these reasons, it is in the national interest of the United States to counter TOC. Addressing TOC requires a coordinated Federal framework accompanied by a cohesive whole-of-government effort executed in collaboration with State, local, Tribal, territorial, and civil society partners in the United States and in close coordination with foreign partners, international and regional organizations, and international and local civil society groups abroad.

Sec 2. Policy.
Executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall take actions within their respective authorities, including, as appropriate, through the provision of technical and financial assistance, to enhance efforts to counter TOC. It is the policy of the United States to:
(a) employ authorized intelligence and operational capabilities in an integrated manner to target, disrupt, and degrade transnational criminal organizations that pose the greatest threat to national security;
(b) collaborate with private entities and international, multilateral, and bilateral organizations to combat TOC, while also strengthening cooperation with and advancing efforts to build capacity in partner nations to reduce transnational criminal activity;
(c) improve information sharing between law enforcement entities and the Intelligence Community to enhance strategic analysis of, and efforts to combat, transnational criminal organizations and their activities, while also preserving our ability to speedily bring TOC actors to justice;
(d) expand tools and capabilities to combat illicit finance, which underpins all TOC activities; and
(e) develop and deploy new technologies to identify and disrupt existing and newly emerging TOC threats.

Sec. 3. Establishments.
(a) There shall be established a United States Council on Transnational Organized Crime (USCTOC), which shall report to the President through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. The USCTOC shall monitor the production and implementation of coordinated strategic plans for whole-of-government counter-TOC efforts in support of and in alignment with policy priorities established by the President through the National Security Council.
(i) The USCTOC shall replace the Threat Mitigation Working Group, previously directed to lead whole-of-government efforts on TOC under Executive Order 13773 of February 9, 2017 (Enforcing Federal Law With Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking). Accordingly, section 3 of Executive Order 13773 is hereby revoked.
(ii) The USCTOC shall consist of the following members or their designees:
(A) the Secretary of State;
(B) the Secretary of the Treasury;
(C) the Secretary of Defense;
(D) the Attorney General;
(E) the Secretary of Homeland Security; and
(F) the Director of National Intelligence. 
(iii) The USCTOC may request other agencies to contribute to the USCTOC’s efforts as necessary, including by detail or assignment of personnel consistent with subsection (b)(v) of this section.
(iv) The USCTOC shall meet not later than 60 days from the date of this order and periodically thereafter. 
(b) There shall be established a USCTOC Strategic Division (Division), an interagency working group housed at the Department of Justice, comprising personnel from agencies designated in subsection (a)(ii) of this section. 
(i) The Division shall produce coordinated strategic plans for whole-of-government counter-TOC efforts in support of and in alignment with policy priorities established by the President through the National Security Council. These strategic plans shall be informed by intelligence assessments, be developed in coordination with agencies, and include recommendations for actions by agencies. The Division shall submit its completed strategic plans to the USCTOC.
(ii) The Division shall be chaired by a senior official from the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security. The Chairperson shall serve a 2 year term. The Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees, shall alternate every 2 years selecting the Chairperson.
(iii) The Division shall be established for administrative purposes within the Department of Justice, and the Department of Justice shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, provide administrative support and funding for the Division.
(iv) Agencies designated in subsection (a)(ii) of this section are hereby directed, consistent with their authorities, budget priorities, and mission constraints, and to the extent permitted by law and consistent with the need to protect intelligence and law enforcement sources, methods, operations, and investigations, to provide to the Division:
(A) details or assignments of personnel, who shall be qualified subject-matter experts and strategic planners, and who shall serve on full-time assignments of not less than 1 year;
(B) relevant information, research, intelligence, and analysis; and
(C) such other resources and assistance as the Division may request for the purpose of carrying out the responsibilities outlined in this section.
(v) To the extent permitted by law, agencies designated in subsection (a)(ii) of this section are encouraged to detail or assign their employees to the Division on a non-reimbursable basis.
(vi) The Division, within 120 days of the date of this order, shall submit to the USCTOC a report describing a process that the USCTOC can implement on an ongoing basis and as necessary to identify and prioritize the most significant TOC threats in alignment with policy priorities established by the President through the National Security Council.

Sec. 4. Report. 
The Director of National Intelligence, within 120 days of the date of this order and annually thereafter, shall submit a report to the President through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs assessing the Intelligence Community’s posture with respect to TOC-related collection efforts, including recommendations on resource allocation and prioritization.

Sec. 5. Definitions.
For the purposes of this order: (a) the term “Intelligence Community” has the meaning ascribed to it under 50 U.S.C. 3003(4); and (b) the term “transnational criminal organizations” refers to groups, networks, and associated individuals who operate transnationally for the purpose of obtaining power, influence, or monetary or commercial gain, wholly or in part by illegal means, while advancing their activities through a pattern of crime, corruption, or violence, and while protecting their illegal activities through a transnational organizational structure and the exploitation of public corruption or transnational logistics, financial, or communication mechanisms.

Sec. 6. General Provisions.
(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


Monday, December 06, 2021

Chicago: An Illustrated Timeline

Located along a lazy, swampy slow-moving river, in a sea of prairie grasses as far as the eye could see along its flat plain, Chicago unexpectedly arose as a thriving, prosperous city. Chicago’s story is one of meeting challenges over and over again. From its inauspicious location, the city developed as a trading location, a transportation hub for the emerging new United States of America, and a magnet for immigrants seeking jobs and a new lifestyle.

In its history, it rose from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire, spotlighted its own success at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and birthed and nurtured the American architectural phenomenon, the skyscraper. With vignettes and photography, Chicago: An Illustrated Timeline, follows the Chicago story from its trading post beginnings to its role as a possible American megacity. Using chronology as its structure, the timeline unveils events that are happily remembered, such as the two world’s fairs held in Chicago or the Cubs’ winning the World Series, and those that often are not talked about, such as the Race Riots of 1919 or the Influenza of 1918. Guided by historical figures from various areas of life, first settler Jean Baptiste DuSable, Mayor Richard J. Daley, or Muddy Waters the book covers all aspects of Chicago life, from art and architecture, to craft beer and restaurants to sports. It also tracks the history of architectural styles, the growth of the immigrant communities, and the development of Chicago-style politics.

Join author and Chicago tour guide Ellen Shubart on this detail-packed, visual journey through one of America’s most iconic cities.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Labar Spann, A Leader of the 4 Corner Hustlers Gang, Convicted of Racketeering Conspiracy, Murder and Extortion for Drug Operation

A federal jury has convicted a leader of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang of participating in a criminal organization that committed murders and other acts of violence while brutally protecting a drug-dealing operation on the West and Southwest Sides of Chicago.

Labar Spann, 43, of Chicago, was found guilty on all four counts against him, including racketeering conspiracy, two counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and extortion. The jury found that Spann committed four murders in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner as part of the racketeering conspiracy, including the murders of Maximillion McDaniel on July 25, 2000, George King on April 8, 2003, Willie Woods on April 17, 2003, and Rudy Rangel on June 4, 2003.

The conviction is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin set sentencing for March 9, 2022.

Authorities uncovered the racketeering activities of the Four Corner Hustlers through a lengthy investigation supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Chicago FBI’s Safe Street Task Force, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), and ATF’s Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force also supported the investigation.

The Four Corner Hustlers operated primarily in the Chicago neighborhoods of West Garfield Park and Humboldt Park on the West Side, and in the former LeClaire Courts public housing development on the Southwest Side. According to evidence presented at the nearly eight-week trial in federal court in Chicago, the gang dealt drugs and robbed rival dealers, while using violence and intimidation to prevent victims and witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement. The gang engaged in numerous acts of violence, including multiple murders and armed robberies.

Spann was indicted in 2017 along with eight other members of the Four Corner Hustlers and two additional defendants. The other defendants pleaded guilty, and several have been sentenced to federal prison terms.

Friday, October 29, 2021

15 Member and Associates of the Sin City Deciples Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy and/or Drug Conspiracy

Fifteen members and associates of the Sin City Deciples have been charged in a Superseding Indictment with a racketeering conspiracy as well as a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. A sixteenth individual has been charged in a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

According to the Superseding Indictment, the Sin City Deciples, originally formed in 1967 in Gary, Indiana, is a motorcycle organization in which its members and associates allegedly engage in acts of violence, extortion, trafficking in stolen property, and narcotics distribution in the Northern District of Indiana and elsewhere.

The fifteen defendants charged with racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances are: Ronnie Ervin Major a/k/a “Black,” 51, of Gary, Indiana; Antoine Jermell Gates a/k/a “Twan,” 44, of Gary, Indiana; Kenneth Christopher McGhee a/k/a “Sonny” and “Angel,” 72, of Merrillville, Indiana; Michael Castro Rivera a/k/a “Puerto Rican Mike,” 64, of Gary, Indiana; Douglas Sherman Blowers a/k/a “Profit,” 41, of Lake Station, Indiana; Daniel Richard Spanley a/k/a “Tattoo,” 42, of Hobart, Indiana; Roger Lee Ervin Burton a/k/a “Bo,” 52, of East Chicago, Indiana; James Ulrich Richardson a/k/a “Little Rick,” 52, of Crown Point, Indiana; Richard White a/k/a “Ignorant Bastard,” 54, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Brandon Romand Parks a/k/a “Baywatch,” 43, of Chicago, Illinois; Herman Troy Jefferson a/k/a “G-Rilla,” 49, of Jacksonville, Arkansas; David Lagrant Guy a/k/a “Fly Guy,” 51, of Merrillville, Indiana; Jessie Donald Willis a/k/a “Chip,” 57, of Portage, Indiana; Marvie D. Gardner a/k/a “Widowmaker,” 51, of Louisville, Kentucky; and Bernard Smith, a/k/a “Flirt” and “Preacher,” 59, of Gary, Indiana. Daniel Richard Spanley a/k/a “Tattoo” is also charged with distribution of cocaine and possessing a firearm as a felon.

The Superseding Indictment also charges Gregory Patrick Weldon a/k/a “Sugar Bear,” 53, of Hobart, Indiana, in the conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, in addition to charging him with distribution of cocaine.

The initial Indictment alleged that Ronnie Ervin Major a/k/a “Black” and Antoine Jermell Gates a/k/a “Twan” engaged in murder for hire and used a firearm during and in relation to murder in connection with the December 19, 2010 murder of Jocelyn Blair. Major and Gates remain charged with these crimes in the Superseding Indictment.

This Superseding Indictment was announced by Clifford D. Johnson, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, and Kristen de Tineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

These charges are part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Cities With the Highest Increase in Homicide Rates During COVID

With the homicide rate having spiked by an average of 34% in 50 of the biggest U.S. cities between Q3 2019 and Q3 2021, WalletHub released its report on the Cities With the Highest Increase in Homicide Rates During COVID, along with accompanying videos and expert commentary.

In order to determine which cities have the biggest homicide problems, WalletHub compared 50 of the largest U.S. cities based on per capita homicides in Q3 2021 as well as per capita homicides in Q3 2021 vs. Q3 2020 and Q3 2019.

Cities with Highest Increase in Homicide Rates

1. Atlanta, GA
2. Memphis, TN
3. Chicago, IL
4. New Orleans, LA
5. Baltimore, MD
6. Indianapolis, IN
7. Washington, DC
7. Detroit, MI
9. Louisville, KY
10. Columbus, OH

Note: Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on October 11, 2021.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit:

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