Almighty Vice Lord Nation

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Almighty Vice Lord Nation
Founded1958
Founding locationChicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1958-current
Ethnicitymostly African American
MembershipApprox. 30,000 - 35,000[1]
Criminal activitiesDrug trafficking, robbery, bank fraud, credit card fraud, extortion, mail fraud, money laundering, murder, mortgage fraud, wire fraud
Notable membersEdward "Pepalo" Perry
Alfonso Alfred
Bobby Gore
Willie Lloyd
 
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Almighty Vice Lord Nation
Founded1958
Founding locationChicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years active1958-current
Ethnicitymostly African American
MembershipApprox. 30,000 - 35,000[1]
Criminal activitiesDrug trafficking, robbery, bank fraud, credit card fraud, extortion, mail fraud, money laundering, murder, mortgage fraud, wire fraud
Notable membersEdward "Pepalo" Perry
Alfonso Alfred
Bobby Gore
Willie Lloyd

The Almighty Vice Lord Nation (abbreviated AVLN, VLN, VL, or CVLN) is the second largest and one of the oldest street gangs in Chicago.[2] Their total membership is estimated to be as many as 30,000. They are also one of the founding members of the People Nation multi-gang alliance.[2]

Contents

Origin and growth

In 1958, the Vice Lords "club" was founded by several African American youths originally from the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. These youths met while incarcerated in the Illinois State Training School for Boys in St. Charles (also known as the St. Charles Juvenile Correctional Facility). At the time, they were led by founding member Edward "Pepalo" Perry.[2] The name is taken from the dictionary definition of "vice", meaning "to have a tight hold".[2]

As the original Vice Lords group were released from incarceration, they quickly began to recruit other African American and white youths from their neighborhood and began engaging in conflicts with other "clubs" from various Chicago neighborhoods.[2] By 1964, they had grown significantly and law enforcement named them as a primary target for their various illegal activities, including robbery, theft, assaults, battery, intimidation, and extortion.[2] They were noted for their violent behavior and were feared throughout the Lawndale neighborhood.[2]

CVL, Inc.

In an attempt at softening their public image, the Vice Lord leaders changed the gang's name to "Conservative Vice Lords", which today serves as the foundation of the entire Vice Lord Nation.[2] They developed new logos and advertised themselves as a community outreach group. They went as far as to petition for a community outreach chapter named "Conservative Vice Lord Incorporated.[2] This attempt was successful enough that the group began to receive a large amount of positive publicity from various politicians and community leaders. CVL, Inc. established a number of recreational areas for neighborhood children which were then used as meeting houses after they had closed for the day.

In 1970, two Vice Lord leaders, Alfonso Alfred and Bobby Gore, applied for a $275,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation approved the grant.[2] At the same time, the gang was successfully consolidating smaller neighborhood gangs (including the Cherokees, the Morphines, the Commanches, the Continental Pimps, the Imperial Chaplains, the Clovers, the Cobras, and the Braves) into the Vice Lord Nation. As a result, their numbers swelled significantly. In spite of the positive press, it was soon discovered that the Vice Lords were still violent criminals. An introduction of narcotics into the Lawndale neighborhood during this time, along with a rapid increase in crimes involving intimidation, extortion, and murders of business owners who refused to pay for "protection" were perpetuated by the gang.[2]

1980s and beyond

After public pressure, a federal investigation into CVL, Inc.'s use of the Rockefeller grant money was conducted and as a result, several leaders were arrested and sent to prison. By the early 1980s, Perry and Alfred were dead and Gore was in prison for murder. The younger Vice Lord leadership attempted to conceal the gang's true intentions with another camouflage campaign, this time by adopting Islamic ideologies. By the mid 1990s, they had created a large document called Lords of Islam which addressed new rules for the gang. Their headquarters, located near Pulaski and 16th Street, is referred to as the "Holy City".[2]

In the 1990s, the Vice Lords, while engaging in the usual activities, became much more sophisticated and expanded into mortgage fraud, credit card fraud, and money laundering.[2]

Subgroups

In addition to their presence in Chicago, the Vice Lords also have a large presence in other cities throughout the United States. These include Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Memphis, Tennessee;[3] Gary, Indiana; Jackson, Mississippi; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Along with the "foundation" group Conservative Vice Lords, a number of factions and sub-gangs exist. These include the 4 Corner Hustlers, Cicero Insane Vice Lords, Ebony Vice Lords, Executioner Vice Lords, Imperial Insane Vice Lords, Mafia Insane Vice Lords, Renegade Vice Lords, Purple Hearted Vice Lords, Traveler Vice Lords, Undertaker Vice Lords, and Unknown Vice Lords.

Symbols and emblems

Vice Lord street gangs use a variety of gang graffiti symbols or emblems, to identify themselves and their gang 'turf' including:

Each faction of the Vice Lords has their own 'Chief' and ranking officers. However, high-ranking members that hold the title of 'Universal Elite' are given respect by all Vice Lord factions. They are usually called "Lord Almighty".

Willie Lloyd

As a teenager growing up on Chicago's West Side in the 1960s, Willie Lloyd joined the Unknown Vice Lords, a faction based along 16th Street in the Lawndale neighborhood. Lloyd soon became the faction's leader and recruited thousands of followers. Eventually he proclaimed himself "King of Kings" and stated that he was the leader of the entire Vice Lord Nation. However, his tenure was interrupted by a prison term for his part in the murder of a police officer in Iowa.[4]

Lloyd continued to lead the gang on the outside through fellow inmates and prison employees affiliated with the gang. While incarcerated, Lloyd wrote The Amalgamated Order of Lordism, a 61-page manifesto on the Vice Lord command structure in the prisons and on the streets. He was incarcerated in 1971 until his release on parole in 1986, then was back in prison a year later on a weapons conviction until another parole in 1992. When he left prison in 1992, he was picked up by fellow gang members dressed in furs who were driving a convoy of five limousines.[5] Later in 1992, he was involved in a protracted gang war over control of the Vice Lord Nation, involving kidnapping and the murder of rival members' children. Law enforcement intensified its efforts to remove Lloyd from the street, and from 1994 to 2001, he was again incarcerated for weapons violations.[6]

During Lloyd's quarter-century as gang leader, Vice Lord drug deals, extortion and other crimes reportedly led to thousands of homicides. In 1996, police had supposedly linked every murder committed in Chicago's 15th district back to orders from Lloyd.[citation needed]

Lloyd supposedly quit the Vice Lords after his release from prison, and became an outspoken critic of gang life.[7] Lloyd attempted to earn a living as a gang mediator, and he became affiliated with a non-profit organization, as well as DePaul University, where briefly, he was a guest lecturer, which was controversial, in part due to a "field trip" Lloyd had for his students.

In August 2003, Lloyd was shot four times in Garfield Park. This was the third assassination attempt on Lloyd. Lloyd became paralyzed from the neck down due to injuries from the shooting. Rumors persisted that Lloyd still wanted to collect a "tax" from the Vice Lords as its leader, even though he had supposedly left gang life. Lloyd has given interviews stating that he believes his attackers included some of his former henchmen.[8]

References

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Curran Kirby, Kate; Mars Eghigian, Jr. and Joseph Petrenko (2006). "1". In James W. Wagner. The Chicago Crime Commission Gang Book. Chicago Crime Commission. pp. 18–20. OCLC 70236857. 
  3. ^ "Big 4: Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, Crips, Bloods". The Commercial Appeal. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/mar/23/big-4-gangster-disciples-vice-lords-crips-bloods/. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  4. ^ O'Connor, Matt (May 19, 1994). "U.S. JURY QUICKLY CONVICTS WILLIE LLOYD". Chicago Tribune: pp. 13. 
  5. ^ Marin, Carol (August 27, 2003). "Hard evidence about shootings ; What the attack on Willie Lloyd has to do with the state budget". Chicago Tribune: pp. 25. 
  6. ^ Pelton, Tom (April 14, 1994). "21 ARRESTS IN GANG TIED TO LLOYD". Chicago Tribune: pp. 1. 
  7. ^ Main, Frank (April 7, 2002). "Dope sales build secret empires". Chicago Sun-Times. http://www.suntimes.com/special_sections/crime/37616,cst-nws-ganga07.article. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  8. ^ staff (August 21, 2003). "Leading Vice Lords gang figure critically wounded in shooting". Chicago Red Eye: pp. 6. 

See also

External links