Copyright, 2001, NGCRC, Chicago, IL.
(COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT:
DO NOT USE WITHOUT THE WRITTEN PERMISSION
OF THE NATIONAL GANG CRIME RESEARCH CENTER)
© Copyright 2008, Chicago, IL, National Gang Crime Research Center.
The Gangster Disciples, formed in 1974 as a 60-man operation, by 1995 had matured into a centralized criminal organization with nearly 30,000 members in Chicago alone, spreading its tentacles out to at least 35 other states and several thousand more members.
With an estimated annual revenues in excess of $100 million from Chicagoland narcotics sales and street tax (its total income from various front organizations, social service scams and other illegal income sources is difficult to assess), the gang is one of Chicago's most successful, albeit illegal, home-grown corporations in the modern American underground economy.
The Gangster Disciples' entrenched presence in city life, from West Side drug sales to political protests at City Hall, is a painful reminder that Chicago has a long and well-earned reputation as a gangster town.
It is also a testament to the gang's reach.
Like an aggressive, mutating virus, the Gangster Disciples gang has penetrated and exploited legitimate authority structures and democratic processes that could have endangered its existence: media, government, social service agencies, academia, church, even the penal system.
Reminiscent of the U.S. Army's recruitment promise to "be all you can be" the gang has lured members with opportunities far overreaching illicit financial gain from narcotics sales, from merchandising "prison fashion" to meeting with the President of the United States.
As they climb within the gang hierarchy, GD members have increased access to political internships, media exposure, preaching engagements, contracts and jobs with social service agencies and high schools and the prestige of