Vice Lord ‘King’ goes on trial

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Tattoos of the Imperial Insane Vice Lords are pictured in the Chicago Crime Commission Gang Book. The gang’s alleged leader, Nathaniel Hoskins, was charged along with 32 others in a conspiracy case that includes a 2011 murder.

First, a couple of Four Corner Hustlers decided to take a shot at an Imperial Insane Vice Lord known as “Moochie” in April 2011 at Pulaski and Division.

So a couple of days later, prosecutors said, a Vice Lord known as “Teardrop Thuggish” put a Four Corner Hustler in the morgue — fatally shooting Marcus Hurley as he left a convenience store near the Vice Lords’ main drug market at Thomas and Keystone on the West Side.

Nathaniel Hoskins, “king” of the Vice Lords, got on the phone the next day with one of his highest ranking lieutenants. He allegedly said that he “put that sh– into effect and it went down” — a boast prosecutors took to mean Hoskins had ordered Hurley’s murder.

Now, Hoskins and two more of his lieutenants, Julian “Light Bright” Martin and Torrie King, are charged with a racketeering conspiracy and are on trial in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Edenfield told the judge Monday that all three “lived the gang life” but were involved in something far more serious.

“It was as serious as it gets,” Edenfield said as the bench trial got underway.

Defense lawyers argued the men had no real control over the Vice Lords organization and shouldn’t be convicted in the racketeering case. Hoskins’ attorney, J. Clifford Greene Jr., has argued in court papers that Hoskins had two heart attacks and a stroke “that made him no more capable of leading a violent street gang than Edward Snowden is capable of leading the NSA.”

But prosecutors allege Hoskins managed to live in Las Vegas and return to Chicago to oversee the Vice Lords, which had long warred with the Four Corner Hustlers over territory divided by Pulaski. Hoskins was among 33 people charged with participating in the narcotics enterprise in 2013. He was arrested at O’Hare Airport that fall as he tried to leave for Nevada.

Police said at the time they suspected Hoskins controlled about 250 gang members in Chicago and was trying to bring smaller gangs on the West Side under his control. He received most of his revenue from drug operations here but was allegedly dabbling in illegal pharmaceutical sales in Nevada too, authorities say.

Hoskins allegedly helped hide Hurley’s killer — Andre “Teardrop Thuggish” Brown — in a west suburban Red Roof Inn after the shooting, prosecutors said. Police said Brown was shot to death on June 2, 2012.

Prosecutors said Martin and King were also involved in an attempt to kill another Four Corner Hustler who worked at a liquor store at Pulaski and Division in May 2011. That murder plot was interrupted by the Chicago Police Department, prosecutors said.

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