CHICAGO (CBS) — Thirteen people involved with a violent West Side street gang were charged Monday in a federal racketeering indictment, in which they are accused of numerous murders and attacks.

The U.S. Attorney’s office announced the grand jury indictment against the leaders, members, and associates of the Wicked Town faction of the Traveling Vice Lords street gang. Prosecutors said members of the gang murdered rivals and used violence to protect its drug-dealing operation.

READ MORE: Teen, 15, Shot In The Loop

The Wicked Town faction is accused in the indictment of being involved in 19 murders, 19 attempted murders, and numerous armed robberies and assaults.

Prosecutors said the gang used threats and intimidation to keep victims and witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement. Members of the gang also regularly promoted their enterprise on social media – with comments, photos, and videos to announce their membership in the gang, taunt members of rival gangs, and boast about murders and other violent acts, according to the indictment.

The gang operated primarily in the Austin neighborhood on the city’s West Side, where they are accused of maintaining “trap houses” where they stashed guns and drugs such as cocaine and heroin, prosecutors said.

During a multi-year investigation, agents seized 46 guns and about 1,000 rounds of ammunition, about 17 kilograms of cocaine, about 7 kilograms of heroin, and about 100 grams of crack cocaine, prosecutors said.

READ MORE: CTA Bus Driver Beaten Near Millennium Park

Charged with racketeering conspiracy in the indictment are Donald Lee, 39; Deshawn Morgan, 39; Marquel Russell, 44; Darius Murphy, 22; Torance Benson, 29; Davion Russell, 21; Deshon George, 28; Nashon Johnson, 42; Dante Dockett, 43; Demond Brown, 28; Victor Turner, 30; Willie Gardley, 27; and David Arrington, 26. All the defendants are Chicago residents.

The indictment accuses some of the defendants of personally murdering people to maintain and increase their rank in the gang. Some of the murders go back more than 20 years:

• Arrington is accused of murdering Ronald Boyd on Aug. 22, 2020;
• Turner is accused of murdering Sammy Hodges on March 10, 2019;
• Morgan, Murphy, and Brown are accused of murdering Donald Holmes Jr. and Diane Taylor on Jan. 31, 2018.
• Murphy, Brown, Gardley, and Arrington are accused of murdering Uriah Hughes on Jan. 11, 2018;
• Murphy, Brown, Lee, and Gardley are accused of murdering Kishaun Mobley on Dec. 23, 2017;
• Murphy accused of murdering Alfred Stovall on April 28, 2017;
• Dockett and Davion Russell are accused of murdering Derrick Jones and Stephen Tucker on Dec. 23, 2016;
• Benson is accused of murdering Martel Howard on Jan. 21, 2016;
• Murphy and Brown are accused of murdering Dan Rance on Sept. 2, 2015;
• Murphy, Brown, and Lee are accused of murdering James Douthard on Aug. 23, 2015;
• Turner and Lee are accused of murdering Malcolm Willie on July 15, 2015;
• Gardley and Lee are accused of murdering Charlie Weathers on May 23, 2015;
• Brown is accused of murdering Abraham Cooper on Dec. 23, 2014;
• Brown and Benson area accused of murdering Ron Hernandez on Dec. 21, 2014;
• Lee is accused of murdering John Johnson on June 15, 2003;
• Lee and Johnson are accused of murdering Ernest Moore on Dec. 23, 2002;
• Lee is accused of murdering Lamont Ware on July 22, 2000.

The indictment also accuses several defendants of federal gun and drug crimes.

MORE NEWS: Oak Park And River Forest High School Ban On Activities Due To COVID Outbreak Sparks Outrage

Racketeering conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but a life sentence is possible for some of the underlying charges. Some defendants could even eb sentenced to the death penalty if convicted of certain murders charged in the indictment.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff