With their leader in prison, leaders of Chicago’s Black Disciples gang were called to a South Side apartment building they called “The Castle” to hear from their newly annointed “king.” The Chicago Tribune sdays he told the assembled drug dealers that if they played by the “BD law,” they would prosper. Violators would be beaten or killed by the Vanguard, the gang’s enforcers.
Since that day in 1991, Marvel Thompson, 35, ran the gang like a diversified corporation, hauling in drug profits–as much as $300,000 per day–which the gang laundered with investments, including apartment buildings, a rap record label called M.O.B., and a carwash and nightclub in Atlanta, federal prosecutors said yesterday. With a pirate transmitter, the gang broadcast “public service announcements” to their dealers, warning them when police were near.
The gang took over a 16-story Chicago Housing Authority building, posting snipers on the roof to protect dealers making as much as $45,000 per day selling crack, cocaine, and heroin inside. Lookouts were equipped with night-vision goggles.
Thompson and 46 others were indicted this week on drug conspiracy charges after a six-year investigation led by Chicago police and the FBI. Wearing helmets and wielding shotguns, police stormed down the corridors of the red-brick Randolph Towers housing complex, where the gang was based, sometimes kicking in doors as they searched for suspects and found $300,000 in cash.
Officials say the arrests toppled the hierarchy of one of Chicago’s best organized street gangs, one that terrorized neighborhoods where they plied their trade.