Feds File RICO Charges Against Black Disciples

The feds arrested the alleged leader of the Black Disciples gang, Darnell “Murder” McMiller. The Black Disciples are believed to be involved in gun and drug trafficking and are one of the major players on Chicago’s south side. 


These arrests come amid Trump initiatives to send federal officers into major cities, all democratic strongholds. Trump and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who initially opposed the move, came to an agreement. Trump appears to be interested in helping these democratic cities fight violent crime. However, his tactics have garnered nationwide condemnation in Portland, where allegedly plainclothes DHS officers grabbed people off the streets and took them to federal facilities without filing charges. 


Most of the Portland mission seemed geared toward protecting the federal courthouse that had been vandalized by protesters over the course of several nights. This, however, appears geared toward reducing some of the violence in the most troubled parts of Chicago.


McMiller was arrested along with 22 other members of the gang. Below, we will take a look at the charges.


The Black Disciples Investigation


What we know so far is that federal authorities believe the Black Disciples are involved with weapons and drug trafficking, primarily in the Englewood neighborhood of South Chicago. Among the things that were seized by federal authorities:


  • 13 kilos of cocaine
  • 24 firearms
  • 1,350 grams of fentanyl-laced heroin
  • 750 grams of fentanyl
  • 378 grams of crack cocaine
  • A lot of MDMA pills
  • More than $50,000 in cash


The investigation was led by both the Chicago Police Department and the FBI. Other agencies contributing to the investigation were the ATF, the DEA, and even the IRS’s criminal division. 


Like the Bloods and the Crips, the Black Disciples are a national street gang with chapters all over the U.S. The indictment mentions at least 50 instances of undercover officers or informants purchasing drugs from alleged Black Disciples members. 


The gang members will likely be charged under RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). RICO allows individual members of a group to be charged collectively with crimes committed by any member of the group. It is a powerful tool for law enforcement to bring down corrupt organizations with one indictment. In other words, the federal government does not have to prove that every individual member committed a specific crime. Rather, they can prove that the group was involved in such crimes and that one defendant was a member of that group and knew what the group was doing.


To prove a RICO case, the state must show that:


  • A criminal enterprise existed
  • The enterprise affected interstate commerce
  • The defendant was employed or benefited from the enterprise
  • The defendant engaged in a criminal conspiracy/racketeering
  • The indictment must mention at least two instances of an individual committing racketeering or criminal conduct that benefited the group


Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of a federal crime, then you need an attorney who can handle a federal case. Call Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to learn more about how we can help.

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