As part of federal law enforcement's quest to help the crime-ridden city of Chicago take back the streets from prolific and deadly crime organizations, the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois on Thursday brought RICO charges against nine alleged members of a violent crime gang known on the streets of the Windy City as the Hobos.
The nine defendants allegedly directed or participated in committing murders, attempted murders, robberies, and narcotics offenses, according to U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro.
The five-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury accuses the nine defendants with 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, according to court documents.
The RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Criminal Organizations) indictment charges the Hobos with allegedly using violence to enrich its members and their associates; promoting and enhancing their criminal enterprise; preserving and protecting its power, territory, operations, and proceeds; keeping victims and witnesses in fear; and preventing law enforcement from detecting its crimes, according to law enforcement officials.
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.
“The indictment portrays a gang with virtually no restraint on its ruthless use of violence to further its goals,” said U.S. Attorney Shapiro. “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 and all nine defendants are currently in state or federal custody, Shapiro added.