CHICAGO — A federal indictment unsealed today 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.
The indictment alleges that the Wicked Town faction engaged in numerous acts of violence, including at least 19 murders, 19 attempted murders, several armed robberies, and assaults. The gang used threats and intimidation to prevent victims and witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement, the charges allege. 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.
During the course of the multi-year probe, law enforcement seized 46 firearms, approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition, approximately 17 kilograms of cocaine, approximately seven kilograms of heroin, and approximately 100 grams of crack cocaine.
All 13 defendants are in law enforcement custody. Arraignments will be scheduled in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kristen de Tineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Substantial assistance in the investigation was provided by the Chicago office of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Chicago Field Office of the FBI, the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA), and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John D. Mitchell and Jimmy L. Arce.
“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.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Racketeering conspiracy generally carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, but a life sentence is possible for certain underlying charged activities. Several of the defendants also face a maximum of the death penalty if convicted of certain murders charged in the indictment. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.