Authorities announced a crackdown on the violent Chicago street gang known as the Hobos with sweeping federal racketeering charges against its leader and eight other members for everything from narcotics trafficking to homicide, reports the Chicago Tribune. The takedown comes amid a recent spate of gun violence that has shone another embarrassing national spotlight on Chicago’s seemingly intractable gang warfare.
Prosecutors described the Hobos as a tight-knit crew that originated in the former Robert Taylor Homes and banded together from factions of the much larger Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples street gangs. Among those charged with racketeering conspiracy was the alleged Hobos’ leader, Gregory “Bowlegs” Chester, 36. At a news conference, Acting U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro found himself on the defensive when a reporter suggested that federal prosecutors weren’t doing enough to combat the gang violence in Chicago. Shapiro cited hundreds hundreds of gun and drug charges since 2006, which he said the media largely ignored.