Seamus McGraw in Radar:
“There’s no doubt about it—the Gangster Disciples are the biggest [gang] in the Army,” says Chicago Police Lieutenant Robert Stasch, who has spent 30 years tracking the group’s rise from a handful of street-corner hoodlums to what he calls “the most sophisticated criminal enterprise in the United States.”
Founded three decades ago by Larry Hoover, the Gangster Disciples have worked to burnish their image, says Stasch. They have courted politicians and sought to enhance their legitimacy. At one point Hoover changed the group’s name to “Growth and Development” and tried to portray himself as the leader of a community organization. According to Stasch, “They even set up a political action committee … that would actually go to various cities and states, and even to the federal level, in an attempt to get gang-friendly legislation enacted.”
Now, with the unintended help of the U.S. Army, the gang is extending its reach worldwide. According to a Chicago Sun-Times article last year, Gangster Disciple graffiti has been spotted all over Iraq. The gang’s initials and main symbol, the six-pointed star, have been tagged on concrete blast barriers, armored vehicles, and even remote firebase guard shacks. In an astonishing study of just three Army bases over the past four years, a Department of Defense detective identified more than 300 active gang members.
More here. [Thanks to Akbi Khan.]