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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Leader of West Side Street Gang Sentenced to Life in Prison in Connection with Murder and Drug Conspiracies

CHICAGO — The head of a violent street gang that terrorized the West Side of Chicago through murder and drug trafficking was sentenced today to life in prison.

While leading the Imperial Insane Vice Lords, NATHANIEL HOSKINS ordered at least one murder and oversaw the operation of an open-air drug market near Humboldt Park in Chicago.  Hoskins assigned roles for each member of the gang to play in the drug market, and he personally handled the purchases of heroin and cocaine that fueled it. 

More than 30 individuals with alleged ties to the Imperial Insane Vice Lords have been arrested and charged as part of the investigation, and authorities shut down the open-air market.

Hoskins, 47, of Chicago, was convicted in a bench trial last year of participating in drug and murder conspiracies, and leading a racketeering enterprise.  U.S. District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo imposed the life sentence in federal court in Chicago.

“Gang-related violence is a tremendous problem in Chicago,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Rajnath P. Laud argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “A sentence of life is the only sentence that reflects the seriousness of the offense, particularly given defendant’s leadership role and the other serious crimes he committed as leader of a violent street gang.”

Evidence at trial revealed that Hoskins made it clear to others that he was the king of the gang.  He ordered his subordinate gang members to commit violence to strengthen the group’s control over West Side neighborhoods.  One such order from Hoskins resulted in the killing of a man whom Hoskins believed was a rival gang member.

The sentencing was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Dennis A. Wichern, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Superintendent; James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

The investigation was conducted through the U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Chicago Strike Force, which ― in addition to the DEA, IRS-CID and CPD narcotics officers ― consists of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, and task force officers from various state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Cook County Sheriff’s Police and the Illinois State Police.

The government is represented by Mr. Laud and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott M. Edenfield and Sean Franzblau.

Violent Crime
Updated May 12, 2016