Gang leader held as police raid drug ring

Chicago Sun-Times,  May 21, 2004  by Frank Main


Police seized a grenade, an assault rifle and a bulletproof vest Thursday in a raid that put the reputed chief of a major Chicago street gang behind bars on drug conspiracy charges, officials said.

Troy V. Martin, 49, of Bolingbrook, and more than 100 other members and associates of the Mafia Insane Vice Lords were charged in the culmination of an investigation launched in 2002, authorities said.

Martin, founder of the gang, is a convicted murderer and wife beater, court records show. His organization hauled in as much as $250,000 a day in cocaine, heroin and marijuana sales and he skimmed off much of that for himself in "street tax," officials said.

This was the second strike at the heart of a major Chicago street gang in a week.

Last Thursday, authorities announced that Marvel Thompson, king of the Black Disciples, and the hierarchy of his gang were arrested.

 It's getting less comfortable being a gang king in Chicago," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said.

Martin was called "King Troy" as far back as 1974 when he was sentenced to two years in prison for wounding a man with a gun. Three years later, he returned to prison for a fatal stabbing. He was paroled in 1998. Then in 2002, he was given probation for punching his wife in the face and striking the officers who showed up.

Both inside and outside of prison, he was considered the ruler of the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, a faction of the No. 2 street gang "nation" in Chicago, the Vice Lords, founded in the 1950s in the Illinois State Training School for Boys in St. Charles.

In the 1990s, the gang grew in strength to about 30,000 members in Chicago and across the nation, authorities said.

Willie Lloyd, the reputed leader of the nation, has been seen meeting with Martin, a police source said.

Lloyd was shot four times at close range last year as he prepared to walk his pit bull at Garfield Park on the West Side.

Hundreds of hours of surveillance and recorded wiretaps revealed the seamy world of 47 drug markets operated by the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, according to a 182-page affidavit filed by Jeff Konvalinka, an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

One of the reputed leaders, Eddie Bell, is overheard on one secretly recorded call trying to decide what brand name to give a new line of heroin.

"I'll call it Junk Julie, Freddie Krueger," he mused.

On another call, Martin is talking with another alleged leader, Tyris Smith, about undercover police officers in a green car taking $491 in cash from Martin on Aug. 5, 2003, but letting him go.

Federal authorities said the undercover officers were making a legitimate seizure to build a case against Martin, but he mistakenly thought they were corrupt cops who were ripping them off.

"Man, them chumps stole my money Sunday," Martin said, according to the affidavit.

Smith responded that "they been doing that in my neighborhood for the longest."

Forty-eight defendants, including Martin, face federal drug conspiracy charges that carry a sentence of 10 years to life.

Fifty-five other defendants face state charges, some of which could bring a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors from Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine's office met with federal prosecutors to divvy up the charges based on whether a federal or state case would provide a longer possible sentence.

Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline said the investigation, called Operation Day Trader, will "severely cripple" the gang. Now police will try to prevent violence from cropping up in the leadership void, he said.