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Thursday, 23 June 2011

war on the Maniac Latin Disciples after two young girls were shot in a Northwest Side park earlier this month.

08:40 |

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy declared war on the Maniac Latin Disciples after two young girls were shot in a Northwest Side park earlier this month.

The shooter was a member of the gang and was gunning for rival Latin Kings when the girls, ages 2 and 7, were wounded on June 8, prosecutors said. The younger girl was grazed in the head and the 7-year-old was seriously wounded in the back.

“We’re going to obliterate that gang,” McCarthy told a roomful of police supervisors shortly after the shooting. “Every one of their locations has to get blown up until they cease to exist.”

Two weeks later, 120 Maniac Latin Disciples have been arrested and seven guns recovered in what police are describing as phase one of their effort to cripple the gang of 300 to 500 members.

“We’re asking the state’s attorney’s office to prosecute them to the fullest,” said Nick Roti, chief of the Organized Crime Division. “We’re going to put them out of business.”

Of the gang members arrested since the shooting, 19 remained in jail while the others posted bond.

About five have been sent back to prison for parole violations such as testing positive for narcotics, Roti said.

The crackdown is being conducted by Roti’s gang and narcotics units, as well as the patrol and detective divisions. It’s focused on the Humboldt Park and Grand-Central police districts, where many of the gang members live.

Leo Schmitz, commander of the gang enforcement unit, said the Maniac Latin Disciples have been “laying low” since McCarthy declared war on them. Investigators have tracked some to girlfriends’ apartments or addresses outside their traditional turf, he said.

The Criminal Intelligence Unit in the Cook County Jail has been providing Chicago Police investigators with hierarchy charts for about 15 factions of the Maniac Latin Disciples, said Steve Patterson, a spokesman for Sheriff Tom Dart. The charts are created by interviewing jailhouse informants.

McCarthy’s war on the Maniac Latin Disciples follows an effort last year to punish other West Side gangs. They were warned by then-police Supt. Jody Weis that they would become targets of a crackdown if one of their members committed a murder. Sixty members of the Black Souls and 100 members of the Traveling Vice Lords were arrested on federal and state charges.

McCarthy said he supports that strategy. “When groups engage in violence, they have to understand there will be consequences,” he said. “This is not going to stop.”

Antonio Bucio is the alleged Maniac Latin Disciples member charged in the June 8 shooting of the two girls. His face is tattooed with a letter “D” sprouting devil’s horns. Prosecutors said Bucio admitted to shooting at rival gang members at Avondale Park, which is north of Belmont and west of Kimball near the Kennedy Expy. Police said they have recovered the gun used in the shooting.

On Wednesday afternoon, Aquiles Pena was at the same park, watching his two young daughters swim in a pool near the play lot where the girls were shot. Pena, 50, said he has lived in the neighborhood for about two years and occasionally sees gang members hanging out, but they don’t bother him. Still, he said he’s outraged by the shooting.

“I think they should be harder on gangs around Chicago,” Pena said.

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