Hobos gang member sentenced to 12 years in federal racketeering case

SHARE Hobos gang member sentenced to 12 years in federal racketeering case

Six years ago, Gary Chester helped his fellow Hobos tie up two South Side brothers and torture them with a clothes iron while demanding money and drugs, federal prosecutors said.

They gagged one, tested the iron on his fingers and then burned his right foot, left arm and left calf, court records show. They covered the brothers with a comforter, poured something on top and threatened to set them on fire.

When one victim looked up, he saw Chester who kicked him in the face, authorities said.

U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. sentenced Chester to 12 years in federal prison Tuesday, four months after Chester pleaded guilty to one federal count of racketeering for his role in the sophisticated and ruthless Chicago street gang known as the Hobos.

But he also gave Chester, also known as “Chee,” credit for five years already served in the Illinois Department of Corrections in connection with the home-invasion robbery of the two brothers.

A federal indictment leveled against the Hobos in September 2013 charged its members in a conspiracy involving five murders, three robberies and other violent crimes, as well as the operation of drug markets on the South Side between 2004 and 2009.

But even though Tharp said Chester “participated in the torture of another human being,” he acknowledged Chester played a relatively minor role in the Hobos’ conspiracy.

The indictment instead identified his cousin, Gregory Chester, as the leader of the street gang that is composed of factions of the Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples gangs and originated in the Robert Taylor Homes.

Gary Chester apologized to the judge Tuesday for his crimes. His attorney, Heather Winslow, told Tharp her client grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes where he was surrounded by a culture of violence and drugs. Ultimately, she said he tried to move out of the neighborhood and support a family.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Otlewski cited the title of film director Spike Lee’s upcoming movie about Chicago — “Chiraq” — and said Gary Chester was an “integral part” of the group that terrorized the city’s South and West sides for years.

“This is Chicago,” Otlewski said. “It’s not ‘Chiraq’.”

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