(Chicago) – The good guys kicked some gang-banger butt on Thursday.
More than 40 Chicago street gang members responsible for violent drug-dealing enterprise on Chicago’s West Side were charged on Thursday in an unprecedented “gang takedown” under the state’s new “RICO” law.
Prosecutors announced “RICO” related charges against 23 defendants who are primarily members of the “Black Souls,” including the gang’s top leader or “chief” and other top tier members of the notoriously violent Chicago street gang.
An additional 18 defendants have been charged with state drug offenses and other crimes as a result of the investigation, dubbed “Operation 40 Cal.”
Among those charged is gang “chief” Cornel Dawson, 38, also known as “Corn”; and the gang’s second in command, Teron ODum, 34, also known as “Ty.”
Also charged were the gang’s top four “princes,” or “top runners,” who each manage one of the gang’s street drug market locations. They are identified as Antwan Davis, 30; Ulysses Polk, 32; Clifton Lemon, 41, and Jeff Thompson, 44. The charges were unsealed yesterday in an affidavit and criminal complaints filed in Cook County Criminal Court.
One year ago the Illinois General Assembly approved the new “Street Gang RICO” law, which was written by Cook County State’s Attorney’s Anita Alvarez and sponsored by State Senator Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Chicago).
“Operation 40 Cal” targeted top gang leadership as well as key members, gang enforcers and gang supervisors who have been operating an open-air, 24-hour-a-day criminal drug enterprise with the primary street sales spots for both cocaine and heroin located in a two by three block radius in the vicinity of Madison and Pulaski.
Selling primarily small packets of heroin in hand-to-hand transactions with drive-by customers, law enforcement authorities estimate that the operation could have been taking in as much as $11 million annually in cash proceeds.
The RICO charges enable prosecutors to target organized gang activity and gang leadership and charge each defendant with a criminal conspiracy based on the patterns and practices of the gang’s criminal enterprise. The charges are based on the previous violent crime dating back to May of 1999.
The underlying charges in “Operation 40 Cal” consist of multiple counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder, including the attempted murder of two Chicago police officers. Additional underlying charges include the murder or intimidation of witnesses, murder of other gang members as a form of punishment, drug trafficking, bribery, kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary and various weapons offenses.
“The new Street Gang RICO law has enabled us to launch an unprecedented attack on the leadership of this violent and notorious Chicago street gang,” Alvarez said. “It is a Game Changer for law enforcement in our war against Chicago street gangs.”
The investigation began seven months ago after gang members sanctioned and carried out the murder of West Side resident Claude Snulligan, who had contacted police repeatedly to complain about the gang’s illegal activities on his block and was targeted for murder. Snulligan was found dead with one shot to the back of his head by a .40-caliber bullet at Madison and Pulaski on Oct. 20, 2012.
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