CHICAGO (CBS) — A high-ranking member of a Northwest Side gang says a police crackdown has paralyzed the gang and sharply cut into its drug sales.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports,in an exclusive interview with reporter Frank Main in the Chicago Sun-Times, the anonymous member of the Maniac Latin Disciples said the gang’s turf on the city’s Northwest Side has become like the Bermuda Triangle.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
He told Main that the minute a gang member drives around the area of Barry and Spaulding avenues, he gets “sucked in (by the police).”
The Maniac Latin Disciples attracted special attention from police after an incident in June of last year, when a member of the gang opened fire in Avondale Park, in the 3500 block of West School Street, and wounded two young girls – Jocelyn Rodriguez, 7, and a 2-year-old girl.
The alleged gunman, Antonio Bucio, 22, was charged with aggravated battery and unlawful use of a weapon in connection with the shooting. He allegedly shot at some members of the rival Latin Kings who were playing basketball in the park, but instead hit the little girls as they played in the sandbox.
Following the shooting, police Supt. Garry McCarthy vowed to “obliterate” the Maniac Latin Disciples.
The alleged gang member told the Sun-Times McCarthy’s remarks were far from an idle threat. Speaking to Main, he compared the attention now being devoted toward the Maniac Latin Disciples to Al Capone being declared Public Enemy No. 1.
The Sun-Times reported more than 1,800 members of the gang have been arrested since June, and 24 guns and over 100 cars have been seized. They have stopped gang members on the street more than 1,100 times, the newspaper reported.
All the police attention has kept members off streetcorners where they sell drugs, and has kept other gang members from moving in.
But the gang member says while the Maniac Latin Disciples have been ordered to keep violence to a minimum, they still feel they have to carry guns for self-defense, the Sun-Times reported.