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Another federal racketeering charge leveled against violent Chicago street gang

First it was a set of the Black Disciples and today a set of Vice Lords. For the second time in three weeks, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced racketeering charges against a violent Chicago street gang. Prosecutors could seek the death penalty in some of the charges.

Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago.

CHICAGO — A federal indictment unsealed yesterday charges 13 alleged leaders, members, and associates of the Wicked Town faction of the Traveling Vice Lords street gang with participating in a criminal organization that murdered rivals and violently protected a drug-dealing operation on the West Side of Chicago.



In a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the indictment alleges that the Wicked Town faction, a subset of the Traveling Vice Lords engaged in numerous acts of violence, including at least 19 murders, 19 attempted murders, several armed robberies, and assaults. It goes on to allege the gang used threats and intimidation to prevent victims and witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement, and that Wicked Town members regularly promoted their violent enterprise on social media - posting comments, photos, and videos to proclaim membership in the gang, taunt rival gang members, and boast about murders and other acts of violence, the indictment states.

The gang operated primarily in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, where members allegedly maintained “trap houses” to store firearms and illegal narcotics, including cocaine and heroin.

All 13 defendants are in law enforcement custody. Arraignments will be scheduled in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

“In bringing this racketeering indictment, we are seeking to hold accountable those who played a central role in significant gang violence on the West Side of Chicago,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “These RICO charges are the result of many federal, state, and local law enforcement partners working together to fulfill a common mission – reducing gun violence and keeping the people of Chicago safe.”

“ATF remains committed to investigating those responsible for gun violence in Chicago,” said ATF SAC de Tineo. “The resulting indictment underscores the importance of collaboration among law enforcement in keeping the community safe from gun violence.”



Charged with racketeering conspiracy are Chicago residents DONALD LEE, 39; DESHAWN MORGAN, 39; MARQUEL RUSSELL, 44; DARIUS MURPHY, 22; TORANCE BENSON, 29; DAVION RUSSELL, 21; DESHON GEORGE, 28; NASHON JOHNSON, 42; DANTE DOCKETT, 43; DEMOND BROWN, 28; VICTOR TURNER, 30; WILLIE GARDLEY, 27; and DAVID ARRINGTON, 26.

The 21-count superseding indictment alleges that members and associates of the Wicked Town faction carried out the murders as part of the gang’s criminal enterprise, and that certain individual members committed some of the killings to maintain and increase their position in the gang.

The murders charged in the indictment are as follows:

  • Arrington allegedly murdered Ronald Boyd on Aug. 22, 2020, in Chicago.
  • Turner allegedly murdered Sammy Hodges on March 10, 2019, in Chicago.
  • Morgan, Murphy, and Brown allegedly murdered Donald Holmes, Jr. and Diane Taylor, on Jan. 31, 2018, in Chicago.
  • Murphy, Brown, Gardley, and Arrington allegedly murdered Uriah Hughes on Jan. 11, 2018, in Chicago.
  • Murphy, Brown, Lee, and Gardley allegedly murdered Kishaun Mobley on Dec. 23, 2017, in Chicago.
  • Murphy allegedly murdered Alfred Stovall on April 28, 2017, in Chicago.
  • Dockett and Davion Russell allegedly murdered Derrick Jones and Stephen Tucker on Dec. 23, 2016, in Chicago.
  • Benson allegedly murdered Martel Howard on Jan. 21, 2016, in Chicago.
  • Murphy and Brown allegedly murdered Dan Rance on Sept. 2, 2015, in Chicago.
  • Murphy, Brown, and Lee allegedly murdered James Douthard on Aug. 23, 2015, in Chicago.
  • Turner and Lee allegedly murdered Malcolm Willie on July 15, 2015, in Chicago.
  • Gardley and Lee allegedly murdered Charlie Weathers on May 23, 2015, in Chicago.
  • Brown allegedly murdered Abraham Cooper on Dec. 23, 2014, in Chicago.
  • Brown and Benson allegedly murdered Ron Hernandez on Dec. 21, 2014, in Chicago.
  • Lee allegedly murdered John Johnson on June 15, 2003, in Chicago.
  • Lee and Johnson allegedly murdered Ernest Moore on Dec. 23, 2002, in Chicago.
  • Lee allegedly murdered Lamont Ware on July 22, 2000, in Chicago.

The indictment also charges several of the defendants with federal firearm and drug trafficking violations.

Racketeering conspiracy generally carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, but Lausch's Office noted that a life sentence is possible for certain underlying charged activities. They added that several of the defendants also face a maximum of the death penalty if convicted of certain murders charged in the indictment.



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This is the second time in three weeks the office of John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, has announced racketeering charges against a violent Chicago street gang.[1] Previous charges against the gang known as O-Block, a set of the Black Disciples street gang, also included the high-profile murder of a rival gang member in the Gold Coast neighborhood, as well as various weapons and drug charges.


Notes & References


  1. Press, Associated. “Alleged Gang Members Charged in Slaying of Chicago Rapper.” Chicago Journal. Chicago Journal, October 14, 2021. https://www.chicagojournal.com/alleged-gang-members-charged-in-slaying-of-chicago-rapper/. ↩︎

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