Feds indict 9 purported gang members
Purported leaders of a deadly Chicago street gang have been indicted on federal racketeering charges that include the murder of a law enforcement informant, authorities announced Thursday.
The indictment of the nine alleged Hobos gang members comes amid calls from Illinois politicians for federal and local agencies to do more to stem persistent street-level violence in parts of the nation's third largest city.
The Hobos gang was founded in public housing projects on Chicago's South Side and stitched together from factions of the better-known Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples gangs, federal authorities say.
"We view this as a very dangerous group," Gary Shapiro, the acting U.S. attorney in Chicago, said during a Thursday news conference.
Among those named as defendants is Paris Poe, 33, of Chicago, who was the subject of a fugitive manhunt in May. He was arrested in Wisconsin after a daylong manhunt.
Poe and another suspect are accused of killing Wilbert Moore on Jan. 16, 2006, after the pair learned he was cooperating with authorities, according to the indictment.
Court filings didn't include the name of an attorney for Poe. All nine suspects were already behind bars as a grand jury handed down the indictment this week.
The patterns of criminality alleged, including drug dealing, occurred between 2004 and 2009. The case took time, in part, because anyone who cooperated with authorities risked being killed by the gang, Shapiro said.
Asked by a reporter why the investigation stretched over so many years, Shapiro responded, "Have you ever done a murder investigation where no one will talk to you?"
The indictment alleges five murders and four attempted murders in the racketeering conspiracy, or RICO, case. Murders are normally state crimes but can fall under federal jurisdiction when they are one of the illegal acts alleged in a racketeering conspiracy.
Those accused of murder in the racketeering case can face a death sentence. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder would have to make a decision about pursuing that penalty.
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