3 GANG LEADERS, 2 OTHERS FOUND GUILTY IN DRUG RING
Chicago Tribune, April 4th, 1998
A federal jury on Monday convicted three leaders of the Traveling Vice Lords street gang and two major drug suppliers of running a multimillion-dollar heroin and cocaine operation on the West Side.
Among those convicted on all charges was Terry Young, who was a part-time officer on the scandal-scarred Dixmoor Park District Police Department while holding the gang's highest rank.
While the bulk of the 2 1/2-month trial dealt with allegations of large-scale drug-dealing, Young also was accused of forming what prosecutors called "an unholy alliance" with allegedly corrupt police officers from the Austin District tactical unit. One of those officers, Edward Lee Jackson Jr., was charged with teaming up with Young to rob other drug dealers of cash and cocaine, but Jackson's trial was postponed until later, said prosecutor Mark Hersh.
The verdict came a day before Jackson and three other Austin District officers are scheduled to go on trial Tuesday on separate charges of robbing undercover officers who posed as drug dealers.
The jury deliberated 2 1/2 days before convicting Young and co-defendants Kenneth Choice, Young's right-hand man; Mark Cox, a high-ranking gang leader; Mohammad Mansoori, a major drug dealer; and Mansoori's brother and assistant, Bahman. Jurors are scheduled to return to court Tuesday afternoon to decide whether the defendants should forfeit up to $6 million in property and assets allegedly obtained with drug proceeds.
Evidence indicated that Mohammad Mansoori lived amid great wealth, prosecutors said. He owned houses in Highland Park, Bolingbrook and San Antonio, Texas, as well as a downtown Chicago condominium on LaSalle Street and commercial properties. A personal financial statement estimated Mansoori's wealth at about $7 million. He said his money came from a car dealership at 2200 W. North Ave., but prosecutors showed the business didn't generate much profit.
Much of the government's evidence of the drug conspiracy came from court-authorized wiretaps and the testimony of former gang insiders and those involved in the narcotics distribution.
Nine gang members pleaded guilty to charges before trial.
a later sentence of top TVL leaders
LIFE TERM FOR GANG LEADER
Chicago Tribune, April 12th, 1998
A Traveling Vice Lords street gang leader was given life imprisonment while his younger brother was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday for their roles in the gang's multimillion-dollar cocaine and heroin operation.
Tyrone Williams, 37, and his brother, Andre, 28, gave guns to undercover police officers posing as crooked cops in order to keep them from interfering with the drug activity, prosecutors said.
Andre Williams said he "turned toward the street" after his grandmother died, leaving him without parental support.
"That's how I looked at it--survival," he said. "I had to eat." U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman urged both brothers "to get the word out to your friends, your children, your relatives--don't do it."
Chicago Tribune January 31st, 1998, by Matt O’Conner
Two brothers, both leaders of the Traveling Vice Lords street gang, were sentenced to life in prison Friday for running a multimillion-dollar crack cocaine and heroin operation on Chicago's West Side.
The sentences bring to eight the number of co-defendants who have gotten life in prison for their involvement in the lucrative and illicit business.
Andrew "Bay Bay" Patterson, 41, directed the sales along the 2700 block of West Flournoy Street, while his brother, Robert, 30, ran day-to-day operations, prosecutors said.
According to the government, the 24-hour business sold thousands of bags of crack cocaine at $10 apiece every day between July 1991 and April 1995.
During the operation's final nine months, the gang also sold about $10,000 worth of heroin each day on the same block, said Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diane Saltoun and Kathleen Murdock.
In all, prosecutors estimate the narcotics sales totaled at least $36 million over that nearly four-year period.
U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman, troubled that tough federal drug laws forced him to sentence lower-level gang members to life imprisonment, said the Patterson brothers deserved the punishment.
Gettleman recounted how testimony at the trial indicated that Robert Patterson continued to sell crack cocaine while on home confinement for a state drug conviction--though he didn't stray from his front porch.
Fifteen defendants in all were convicted of narcotics conspiracy charges at the five-month trial in 1996; four were acquitted.
The drug operation was conveniently located a few blocks from the California exit on the Eisenhower Expressway. Buyers lined the street in their cars and came on foot to buy $10 bags of crack cocaine and heroin, prosecutors said.
To try to protect their drug operation, the Pattersons directed gang members to pay numerous bribes to a veteran gang crimes police officer, Robert Drozd, prosecutors said. But Drozd wasn't the corrupt, drug-addicted cop he appeared to be to the gang. He was working undercover, wearing a hidden recorder and taping hundreds of hours of discussions with gang members at the drug spot, prosecutors said.
The gang gave Drozd and his partners, also working undercover, bribes of handguns, rifles and sawed-off shotguns, as well as narcotics, to keep from cracking down on the open narcotics sales, prosecutors said.
The assignment was extremely dangerous, and defense lawyers raised questions at the trial about how Drozd's heavy drinking at the time affected his memory and judgment. But the tapes helped back up Drozd's account, and several gang turncoats testified on behalf of the government in return for more lenient prison terms.
Gettleman lamented the fact that Andrew Patterson, described by prosecutors as the brains behind the operation, hadn't used his intelligence to benefit society.
"You could have used your intelligence and talents to be a leader in your community," Gettleman told him. "You took a wrong turn."