Gang leader could get life for running drug conspiracy

October 13, 2006
Associated Press

A gang leader who authorities say controlled the flow of narcotics on dozens of city street corners is facing the possibility of life in prison following his conviction on drug conspiracy charges.

Troy Martin, 51, of suburban Bolingbrook, reputed founder and "king" of the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, oversaw a drug dealing enterprise that operated like a legitimate business, federal prosecutors said. The gang marketed its drugs and handed out free samples.

A federal jury on Thursday determined that Martin controlled the gang from 1998 to 2004.

Also convicted were two men who prosecutors called top members of the gang - Patrick Bray, of Bolingbrook, and Maurice Bell, of Maywood. They were accused of managing drug territories for Martin. All three could get life in prison when they are sentenced in January.

A fourth man, Harry Gilmore, of Chicago, was acquitted of supplying the gang with drugs.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Pravin Rao said Martin used violence to maintain control over other gang members. If someone ran afoul of Martin's gang rules, possible retribution included beatings or even death, Rao said.

The gang controlled drug spots on more than 30 street corners on Chicago's West Side, including some that generated as much as $5,000 in crack, heroin and marijuana sales, authorities said.

Martin, Bray and Bell were among nearly 50 alleged members of the gang who were charged in a federal indictment unsealed on May 20, 2004. More than 40 others pleaded guilty before trial.

Martin founded the Mafia Insane Vice Lords while he was imprisoned for murder, according to prosecutors.

It is one of at least a half dozen factions of the Vice Lords Nation, an association of street gangs with as many as 30,000 members spread across Chicago and its suburbs and extending into 27 other states, court documents show.