Alleged patriarch of 'Gangster Disciples' among 35 arrested - FOX 13 News

Alleged patriarch of 'Gangster Disciples' among 35 arrested

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Johnny Herndon Johnny Herndon
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

An aging West Side gang leader who goes by the street name “Goo” was arrested and charged with dealing heroin and crack cocaine alongside 34 members of his Gangster Disciples faction, authorities said.

Johnny Herndon—a 55-year-old whose crew operated in West Garfield Park—has dealt drugs since the early 1990s, amassing personal wealth that includes more than 30 real estate properties valued at more than $1.6 million, authorities alleged on Tuesday.

His faction traded at an open air drug market around the 4500 block of West Jackson, taking advantage of passing traffic from the nearby Eisenhower Expressway, which DEA boss Jack Riley has dubbed the “Heroin Highway,” the the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

“This is a faction that was already operational, up and running on Chicago's West Side and plaguing that neighborhood in a way that is dangerous and unacceptable,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon.

In addition to Herndon, Chicago police and ATF and IRS agents began arresting 20 federal and 15 state defendants early Thursday.

Three guns, $10,000 in cash, and more than a half-kilogram of heroin were seized, the feds said. Another 13 guns and hundreds of grams of heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine and marijuana were previously seized, they said.

Herndon’s alleged underboss, Christopher Harris, was among those nabbed. He was twice this year caught on wiretaps ordering guns be brought to him, according to a federal complaint.

He was found with a .357 caliber revolver on June 7, when the feds suspect he wanted revenge for the murder of one of Herndon’s crew, the complaint states.

"It's about getting the right people off the street at the right place at the right time. And this gang, clearly, was getting the right people off the street at the right time," said Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

Controlling drug markets in the 300 block of South Kilbourn and the 4400 block of West Congress, the crew allegedly sold 540 quarter-gram rocks of crack cocaine daily for $10 each. The operation netted them $162,000 a month, the charges allege.

Herndon also had a wholesale business selling heroin to crews on neighboring turfs, the feds say. He used the loot to buy rental properties, which made him more than $20,000 a month in rental income, it’s alleged.

"We all know who the real victims are, the residents and the children who have to endure these things and live in these communities," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Herndon devoted some cash to a re-branding campaign as well, claiming 'GD' stood for "Growth and Development." The gang  also bankrolled its own political PAC, organized protest demonstrations, formed a music promotion company and distributed a line of "Ghetto Prisoner Clothing."

If convicted, Herndon faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life, as well as a $10 million fine.

FOX 32's Mike Flannery contributed to this report.

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