The Wicked Town street gang is facing a federal RICO prosecution that has ensnared 80 of its members. The Wicked Town gang is reputed to have orchestrated at least 19 killings. In one of these killings, an innocent bystander was gunned down at a pickup basketball game.
Here’s the problem. The narco traffickers in places like Honduras have control of the government. They are not interested in boosting their reps on the streets. They simply want to move their drugs from one place to another. Meanwhile, they are supplying these drugs to street-level dealers who are more interested in boosting their own reps than they are doing business. These gangs and their leaders will often provoke worthless squabbles with other gangs simply to be harder on the street. While the Cartels kill their fair share of snitches and traitors to their business, the gangs are responsible for creating havoc on the streets for no other reason than to look as mean and strong as they possibly can.
One of the best lines from Game of Thrones is Ser Davos explaining the difference between a pirate and a smuggler. To paraphrase, pirates are allowed to be famous. But a famous smuggler is an unsuccessful smuggler. The Cartels are smugglers. On the streets, the gangs are becoming less centralized and more factionalized. It is more common to see street-level gangs without national affiliation squabble for street corners, beef on Facebook, and then shoot at each other. The smugglers in the Cartels, on the other hand, are often former military, can follow an order, and will not act unilaterally.
Why is This Important?
Traditionally, RICO prosecutions have involved corruption in official positions, drug smuggling enterprises, weapons smuggling enterprises, and human trafficking. While none of those things are good, we are seeing a shift in the way things work. In Chicago, murder rates are up in no small part due to the social media beefs of no-name gangs looking to make a name for themselves. In other words, the people who are conducting business, no matter how unseemly that business is, are not trying to get themselves attention.
Federal authorities have traditionally tried to place pressure on the gangs by targeting their products. Massive sentences (including life sentences) for narco trafficking are not uncommon. Meanwhile, the landscape on Chicago streets has changed, and drug conspiracy charges are not the catch-all that they used to be for putting dangerous criminals behind bars.
Today’s problem is unique to social media. While some folks get attention by posting a funny video, a political meme, or discussing some recent success, the gangs get attention by committing violent crimes, attacking their enemies, and boosting their hardness score. This means using RICO to prosecute more murders than drug or other racketeering conspiracies.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are being drawn into a RICO investigation or facing charges related to violent crime, call the Chicago criminal defense attorney, David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and allow us to begin preparing your defense immediately.