Members of a Chicago street gang that spread its tentacles to Miami are responsible for a dozen murders going back as far as 1985, according to a federal racketeering indictment unsealed Thursday in South Florida.
The Almighty Imperial Gangsters Nation’s innocent victims included a 7-year-old girl killed as she waited in line by an ice cream truck in 1997, and a 13-year-old girl shot caught in the crossfire on a North Side playground seven years ago, the indictment alleges.
Though the gang was founded on Chicago’s Northwest Side in the mid 1970s, using the Pink Panther as a logo and boasting neighborhood factions with names including “Devil Side,” “Dark Side,” “Belden City,” and “The Jungle,” it now has also factions in East Chicago, downstate Sterling, and Miami.
It deals drugs, murders rivals and innocent bystanders, and in at least one case, murdered a state’s witness, the indictment alleges.
Alleged Chicago members of the gang charged in the racketeering conspiracy Thursday include Rogelio “Popeye” Perez, 40, Eddie “NeNe” Camacho, 35, Miguel “Fuzzy” Pedraza, 33, Ryan “Lil Dk”Perez, 32, Carlos “Rollo” Mena, 33, Carlos “Lokes” Gomez, 35, and Guillermo “Memo” Sinisterra, 26.
Piero “Bam Bam” Benitez, 27, of Skokie, is charged with teaming up with Victor “Magic” Lopez to murder Rivky Josmah in 2006. Lopez was previously charged alongside five other alleged members of the gang, including three gang members he allegedly ordered to kill state’s witness Mauricio Waikay in 2011.
The gang’s highest profile murders — of little Juana Nieto, 7, who killed as she stood in line waiting for an ice cream in Franklin Park in 1997, and of Schanna Gayden, 13, who was killed in 2007 — long ago resulted in convictions against individual defendants in Cook County courts.
But federal prosecutors are now using them as evidence of a racketeering conspiracy against the gang as a whole.
Though the gang was ordered to shoot “snitches” on sight, and targeted many rivals, it also met with rivals to divide up drug turf, the gang alleges.
Several of the defendants are already in custody in South Florida, but Pedraza, Perez, Mena, Sinisterra and Benitez are fighting extradition and are due to appear in a Chicago courtroom next week.