The five-count racketeering conspiracy indictment returned by a federal grand jury alleges five homicides, solicitation of a sixth homicide, four attempted killings, three robberies and the operation of "drug spots" and "drug lines" on the city's South Side in a pattern of criminal activity from 2004 to 2009.
The racketeering conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison or life for the four defendants charged with committing murders.
The U.S. attorney's office said four of the defendants are charged personally with shooting to death five victims from 2006 to 2009, including one allegedly killed because he was cooperating with law enforcement.
"The indictment portrays a gang with virtually no restraint on its ruthless use of violence to further its goals," Gary S. Shapiro, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said in a statement.
"The gang's alleged murders, robberies and drug dealing invited our employing the federal racketeering laws to prosecute the full scope of their crimes, some extending beyond the normal statute of limitations; and, if convicted, to bring the most severe federal sentences to bear for the terror that plagued the blocks and street corners they allegedly controlled."
Shapiro said the investigation is continuing.
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