Vice Lord ‘prince’ now in feds’ sights

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Chicago Police have continued to crack down on the Imperial Insane Vice Lords after the arrest of Faulkner and others in 2011. Here, Superintendent Garry McCarthy is shown announcing the pre-dawn arrest of 33 individuals with alleged ties to that gang in 2013. | Sun-Times file photo

Federal prosecutors have already convicted the so-called “king” of the Imperial Insane Vice Lords.

Now they’re putting the “prince” on trial.

Joseph “Little Joe” Faulkner and Otis “O” Sykes are charged in a federal indictment for their roles in a conspiracy involving an open-air drug market at Thomas and Keystone on the West Side. That document describes Faulkner, at times, as “prince” — and a five-star universal elite member of the Vice Lords.

The bench trial in front of U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo began with opening statements Monday.

Prosecutors have said Faulkner ran the West Side drug market, mixed and supplied the heroin and collected the proceeds until his arrest in February 2011. Nathaniel Hoskins, the so-called Vice Lord “king” convicted in a bench trial earlier this year, decided who could sell drugs there, according to the feds.

However, Faulkner himself eventually became “king,” prosecutors have acknowledged.

Faulkner ran the drug market for at least 15 years and at times made $20,000 to $30,000 a day, according to the feds. Prosecutors have described Sykes as a “worker” for Faulkner, though Sykes’ attorney said Monday his client was not part of the gang.

Prosecutors also said Faulkner set out in January 2010 to kill a man named Tony Carr who sold marijuana just south of Division and Pulaski because Faulkner wanted to take over that territory — and “get with” Carr’s girlfriend.

The feds say Troy Ross, another five-star universal elite member of the Vice Lords, shot Carr in the legs in a cell phone store at Faulkner’s direction on Jan. 15, 2010. Faulkner was in the store at the time of the shooting and can be seen on surveillance video, records show.

But Faulkner’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, said the shooting had everything to do with a dispute over drugs between Ross and Carr.

“No one says that Joe Faulkner put anyone up to it until the feds come calling,” Greenberg said during opening statements.

Bucklo earlier this year convicted Hoskins, Julian “Light Bright” Martin and Torrie King for their roles in the racketeering conspiracy.

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