Chicago Police say they’ve shut down two brothels run by a member of the Maniac Latin Disciples, whose members have come under intense pressure from the department after one of them allegedly shot two young girls this year.
Antonio Bucio, 23, is accused of shooting and wounding the girls – ages 2 and 7 – as they were playing in Avondale Park on June 8. Bucio, who’s being held without bond on charges of aggravated battery with a firearm and a weapons charge, allegedly told authorities he was aiming for rivals who were “disrespecting his gang.”
After the shootings, police Supt. Garry McCarthy declared an “ongoing and relentless” war on the gang. Through mid-October, officers had made 672 arrests of members of the gang, said Lt. Maureen Biggane, a police spokeswoman.
Bucio’s brother Michael Bucio was among five alleged Maniac Latin Disciples who were arrested this summer on misdemeanor animal-cruelty charges following a dog-fighting investigation. Seven dogs, including an emaciated pit bull, were rescued, police said.
During the investigation, gang officers realized the department’s vice section was also focusing on the 25-year-old Michael Bucio in a separate two-year prostitution investigation, Biggane said.
Last week, Michael Bucio was arrested on felony charges of keeping a place of prostitution and promoting prostitution. He’s been held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
After his arrest, he made statements to authorities “almost bragging about being a pimp,” said Sgt. Traci Walker of the vice section’s Human Trafficking Task Force.
Michael Bucio leased two homes – in the 3900 block of West Lawrence and in the 3200 block of West 55th Street – where women ages 18 to 30 worked for him as prostitutes, Walker said. Four other members of the gang also have been charged in the case. The men allegedly collected money and provided security for Michael Bucio at the two homes.
The gang members visited malls, flea markets and other places to pass out business cards to potential customers. The cards were “discreet,” some with a picture of a woman in a skirt portrayed as a teacher working at a computer along with a telephone number for the alleged prostitution ring, Walker said.
“That way, the men’s wives wouldn’t know what was going on if they found one of these cards,” she said.
Walker said it’s not unusual for gangs to venture into illegal activities like prostitution, even though they’re primarily known for selling drugs.
“We just shut down a major funding source for them,” Walker said.