THE LOOP — By the time federal authorities joined an investigation into the Hobos street gang in 2008, it already had cemented a reputation for bloody confrontations with rivals, violent retribution and fierce protection of the parts of town it used to sell drugs.
The Hobos were "quickly becoming known as the one of the most violent and ruthless [gangs] in this city," said Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, announcing federal charges Thursday against nine members of the gang, accused of murder, robbery, drug dealing and more.
The alleged gang members are accused of killing five men between January 2006 and May 2008, and soliciting the murder of a man in September 2007. The gang also operated drug markets at several locations on the South Side, including the old Robert Taylor Homes housing complex, authorities said.
"No neighborhood should have to deal with this kind of lawlessness," said U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro, at a news conference Thursday discussing the investigation, which began in 2007. Federal agencies joined the Chicago Police effort a year later.
The five-year investigation included an 18-month grand jury, which led to the indictment, Shapiro said.
"Have you ever done a murder investigation where no one will talk to you? These cases take a long time,” he said, adding that witnesses “have gotten reluctant” to cooperate with authorities.
Authorities call the Hobos “a tight-knit, violent crew,” formed in the Robert Taylor Homes. Made up of members of the Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples, the gang targeted drug dealers and other “high-value targets,” fought with rival gangs and stopped at least two witnesses from testifying, authorities said.
The Hobo gang also made a name for itself by robbing NBA players, including former Mount Carmel High School hoops star Antoine Walker, who was robbed of a $55,000 watch in 2000.
• Gregory Chester, aka "Bowlegs," "Big Homie," "Pops" and "Desjuar Anderson," 36, of south suburban Richton Park, who authorities said was the leader of the gang.
• Arnold Council, aka "Armstrong" and "Hobo," 37
• Paris Poe, aka "Poleroski," 33
• Gabriel Bush, aka "Louie," 34
• Stanley Vaughn, aka "Smiley", 36
• William Ford, aka "Joe Buck," 33
• Gary Chester, aka "Chee," 35, a cousin of Gregory Chester
• Byron Brown, aka "B-Rupt," 28
• Rodney Jones, aka "Milk," 26
Everyone besides Gregory Chester is from Chicago, authorities said. All are in custody.
The feds said Council and Poe killed Wilbert Moore on Jan. 19, 2006, because he was cooperating with law enforcement.
Bush and others killed Terrance Anderson on Sept. 1, 2007, authorities said.
Brown and others killed Eddie Moss on Dec. 14, 2007, authorities said. Moss, 24, was a professional basketball player back home from playing in Europe, when he was gunned down, reports said.
Brown and his twin brother, Brandon, who's now dead, killed Larry Tucker on Jan. 20, 2008, they said.
Byron Brown and others killed Kenneth Mosby on May 12, 2008, they said.
Antonio Bluitt, 32, of Elgin, was killed along with another man in a drive-by in Greater Grand Crossing on Sept. 2, 2007, after Gregory Chester solicited his murder, authorities said.
The gang sold cocaine, heroin and marijuana out of drug markets at 44th Street and Federal Avenue in the old Robert Taylor Homes, around 47th Street and Vincennes Avenue, around 51st Street and Calumet Avenue, and around 51st and King Drive, authorities charged.
Federal agents tracked Poe, of Washington Park, to Madison, Wis., earlier this year, after he murdered a government witness, the Sun-Times reported. Poe, who has the phrase “Chief Hobo” tattooed on his arm, was apprehended in May, after authorities locked down a school near where he was hiding.
The charges were announced before a 2:30 p.m. news conference at the Dirksen Federal Building in the Loop, where representatives of the FBI, IRS, U.S. Attorney's Office and Chicago Police were set to lay out their case against the gang.
Shapiro said the U.S. Attorney's Office has been vigilant in targeting gangs.
"My office has devoted the most significant part of its resources in the past 20 years to gang/drug cases than any other criminality in Chicago," he said.
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