16 Gang Members Charged in RICO Investigation

15 members of the Sin City Deciples and a 16th individual have been charged with federal racketeering and drug conspiracy charges. The Sin City Deciples are a motorcycle gang that hails from Gary, Indiana. They are accused of trafficking stolen property, drugs, violence, extortion, and other crimes related to their outlaw motorcycle club. According to the indictment, the Deciples made money by trafficking in cocaine and heroin while extorting other MCs to pay them dues. Among the allegations are that Deciples showed up armed at a rival MCs club to force the members to wear their Sin City insignia. 

Preparing the Case Against the MC

The indictment has just been handed down, but allegations against the club go back as far as 2009. The club was formed in 1967. The indictment states that the 16 individuals were involved in drug enterprises to distribute cocaine and heroin through networks within Indiana. The prosecution has decades worth of sales to undercover agents and the organization has been infiltrated enough that there is evidence of discussions concerning club business that will be presented by undercover agents. 

Prosecution Strategy and the Law

The law makes it possible to charge all members of a continuing criminal conspiracy under a uniform indictment. Essentially, the criminal complaint names all the members with the same crime, operating a criminal enterprise. To be charged under this statute, the police must show that you not only benefit from the conspiracy, but also that you had some form of controlling interest or a supervisory role. This is why 15 gang members have been charged under the criminal enterprise statute and a 16th individual is charged with mere drug distribution. The police can prove a supervisory interest with the gang members while the 16th individual was a lesser affiliate. Additionally, the principal organizer can face harsher penalties under the statute. The text of the law requires that the annual income from the enterprise surpass specific targets for the statute to be triggered.

The statute requires a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison with a potential life sentence as the maximum punishment. A kingpin under the same statute would be placed in prison for the remainder of their life under federal guidelines. The offender would not be eligible for release so long as they were still alive. If someone dies as a result of a criminal enterprise, the death penalty would be in play.

What Does the Prosecution Want?

The prosecution wants five individuals to face criminal enterprise charges and one individual to spend the rest of his life in prison as the so-called Super Kingpin. The rest is negotiable. It can be difficult to prove what each individual did as part of the criminal conspiracy, but the government has over a decade worth of evidence that they will present against them. However, it is unlikely that all of the 15 gang members charged under the superseding indictment will qualify for a 20-year sentence. Ultimately, an attorney’s job would be to negotiate the best possible plea deal for the gang itself, which could mean that some members have to fall on their swords to avoid harsher penalties for everyone. 

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

The job of a defense attorney is to force the prosecutor to prove every element of their allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. David Freidberg has experience representing those charged in criminal drug operations under federal statutes. Call today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.

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