Kenneth Shoulders, suspected to be a high-ranking member of the Conservative Vice Lords, was among 26 other gang members of that sect charged last month “for their alleged roles in supplying and distributing heroin and crack cocaine” in the neighborhood just north of Douglas Park on the city’s west side” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The alleged illegal drug activities occurred south of the Interstate 290 Eisenhower Expressway corridor that has been referred to as the “Heroin Highway,” according to the DEA, “because of the accessibility it provides to city and suburban heroin customers.”
According to the DEA, “an admitted member of the “12th Street” faction of the Traveling Vice Lords (TVL) street gang – named for Roosevelt Road’s location at 1200 south on Chicago’s street grid – told investigators in 2013 that Shoulders, 47, of Chicago, is a high-ranking member of the Conservative Vice Lords who controlled all of the Vice Lords and drug operations in the area known as ’12th Street,’ north of Roosevelt Road between the 1100 and 1200 blocks.”
The DEA added that the “cooperating individual” also told agents that the 12th Street Vice Lords consist primarily of CVL members, but also members of the TVL, Black Souls Nation, Gangster Disciples and New Breed street gangs. The non-Vice Lord members are mostly “pack workers” or street level drug dealers who have no direct allegiance to the 12th Street Vice Lords other than making money from selling drugs within the 12th Street territory.
Fourteen of the defendants arrested by local police and federal agents the morning of June 12, 2014 received federal charges, while 13 others were given state charges, according to the DEA press release that day.
“Eight handguns, an AR-15 assault rifle, approximately $140,000, nearly a half-kilogram of heroin, and some cocaine” were also seized that day during the arrests. And according to the DEA, “another half-kilogram of heroin was seized during the course of the investigation from last August through this month” in some of the defendants’ residences and “four alleged stash houses.”
According to Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois “This case mirrors the trending alignment of Chicago’s street gangs into localized drug dealing factions.”
Fardon added that “[w]hile this case focuses on narcotics trafficking and the complaint does not allege these defendants committed any acts of violence, we believe that bringing serious charges such as these is an effective tool in reducing violence in our communities.”
The investigation was led by DEA agents, Chicago police officers, and other law enforcement assigned to the Chicago Strike Force.
Watch Fardon here talking more about the Chicago Drug War at an event earlier this year at Northwestern Law School.
Read more of the DEA charges against those arrested here.