Reputed gang leader, 33 others charged in drug case

Chicago Sun-Times,  May 26, 2005  by Frank Main

Ray Longstreet's chest is tattooed with the fearsome words "Wizard of Death," and the tattoo on his right arm proclaims "Mob Boss."

But in a series of wiretapped telephone conversations, the reputed head of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang on the West Side sounded like he was in doubt about who was really the boss of his fiefdom, officials said Wednesday.

The Chicago Police "won't let me eat," Longstreet allegedly complained to a drug associate in an April 25 cell phone call secretly taped by police.

Longstreet's business worries were documented in a Chicago Police officer's 126-page affidavit in support of a federal narcotics conspiracy case against the 40-year-old Forest Park man and 33 others. All were charged in the probe Wednesday.

"This is a major blow," Supt. Phil Cline said Wednesday, adding that it was "very satisfying to hear the gang kingpins talk about their frustration in trying to ply their trade on Chicago's streets."

During the investigation, a Chicago Police surveillance camera captured a man getting shot. Officials said they're looking for the gunman based on the tape.

Surveillance cameras unpopular

Longstreet was on parole for a 1995 firearms conviction and for attacking a corrections officer while he was in prison.

He was confined to his home and placed on electronic monitoring by the Illinois Department of Corrections. But he was allowed to leave home for recreation on Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m., officials said. That's when he allegedly did much of his business in maintaining his West Side drug empire, officials said.

He personally oversaw drug spots at Division and Keeler and at Hamlin and Iowa, according to the affidavit in the case.

But he also controlled a 36-block area on the West Side through an army of drug dealers who sold heroin, cocaine and marijuana for him, prosecutors said. The operation reportedly netted $50,000 a day.

The investigation by the Chicago Police, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service identified alleged major drug suppliers for the operation, including Antonio "Psycho" Johnson, 38, who lives in Bloomingdale and Atlanta, prosecutors said.

Johnson, a high-ranking member of the New Breeds street gang, controlled West Side drug spots and supplied Longstreet with narcotics, even though they were affiliated with different gangs, prosecutors said. Johnson is also said to have operated a multistate heroin distribution business.

Commiserate on bad employees

In secretly recorded phone calls over the last two months, the men shared concerns about the police bringing heat on their drug business, prosecutors said.

They discussed the possibility of being secretly recorded, they chatted about the Chicago Police Department's "blue light" surveillance cameras posted near their drug spots, they spoke about a recent crackdown on gun crimes, and they complained about being "targets" of the police. They even commiserated about how hard it is to get good help these days.

"I fire people off the first mistake, dawg," Johnson allegedly told Longstreet.

Authorities said they seized large quantities of cocaine, heroin and cash during their investigation. They also confiscated dozens of vehicles, including a 2004 Hummer and a 2005 Mercedes-Benz owned by Johnson.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald praised investigators for busting not only the alleged gang leaders and their minions, but purported drug suppliers, as well.

"We like to take these cases from the arm to the farm -- from the arm of the dope dealer to the farm where it's grown," said Richard Sanders, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration office in Chicago. "And I think in this case, we've done that."