CHICAGO — A federal indictment unsealed this week charges nine alleged members of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang with participating in a criminal organization that murdered six people and violently protected drug-dealing territories on the West and Southwest Sides of Chicago.
Authorities uncovered the alleged gang activity through a lengthy investigation conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), with assistance from the Chicago FBI’s Safe Street Task Force, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), the ATF’s Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force, and the Chicago Police Gang Investigations Division.
The indictment charges that the Four Corner Hustlers dealt drugs and robbed rival dealers, used violence and intimidation to prevent victims and witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement, and tried to avoid detection by monitoring police scanners and outfitting its members with a security detail. The gang engaged in numerous acts of violence, including murder, robbery, extortion and aggravated battery, according to the indictment.
The gang operated primarily in the Chicago neighborhoods of West Garfield Park and Humboldt Park on the West Side, and in the former LeClaire Courts public housing development on the Southwest Side, the indictment states.
Nine alleged Four Corner Hustlers are charged with racketeering conspiracy. Two other defendants are charged in the indictment with participating in an extortion conspiracy, bringing the total number of charged defendants to eleven. The indictment identifies three Four Corner Hustlers who engaged in the racketeering conspiracy but died before they could be charged.
The indictment was returned Sept. 14, 2017, and ordered unsealed after several of the defendants were arrested this week. The defendants have begun making initial appearances in federal court in Chicago.
The indictment was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Celinez Nunez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Eddie T. Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Substantial assistance was provided by the Illinois Secretary of State Police Department, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the Illinois State Police.
Charged with racketeering conspiracy are LABAR SPANN, 38; SAMMIE BOOKER, 43; TREMAYNE THOMPSON, 33; JUHWUN FOSTER, 37; MARCHELLO DEVINE, 30; RONTRELL TURNIPSEED, 24; KEITH CHATMAN, 29; STEVON SIMS, 27; and DEANDRE SPANN, 40; all of Chicago.
The indictment holds all nine members of the racketeering conspiracy criminally responsible for the murders of six people: Carlos Caldwell on Jan. 19, 2000; Maximillion McDaniel on July 25, 2000; Levar Smith on Aug. 14, 2000; George King on April 8, 2003; Willie Woods on April 16, 2003; and Rudy Rangel on June 4, 2003. Specifically, the indictment charges that Labar Spann participated in all six slayings, with assistance in five of them from at least one other member of the conspiracy. Individual counts in the indictment charge Labar Spann, Thompson and Foster with committing the murder of Woods; and Labar Spann with committing the murder of Rangel. The charges allege that the Woods and Rangel murders were carried out for the purpose of maintaining and increasing position in the Four Corner Hustlers.
Charged with participating in an extortion conspiracy are Labar Spann; Thompson; MIKAL JONES, 33, of Chicago; and ANTONIO DEVINE, 25, of Chicago.
The investigation was conducted under the umbrella of the OCDETF program, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of OCDETF is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The racketeering conspiracy charge generally carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but a life sentence is possible for certain underlying racketeering activities referenced in the indictment. The murder counts in connection with the slayings of Woods and Rangel each carry a mandatory minimum sentence of life imprisonment and a maximum potential sentence of the death penalty. The extortion conspiracy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.