Chicago Gang History

Status: Active

Insane Latin Jivers

Formerly known asLatin Jivers ?-1992 and Maniac Latin Jivers 1992-1995
ColorsBlack and brown
Primary ethnicitiesLatino (Puerto Rican)
SymbolsSkull, top hat, cane, 12-10, pitchfork 1980-1995
AffiliationFolks since 1980
Founding yearUnknown. Submit info.
Founding neighborhoodWicker Park section of West Town neighborhood, Pierce and Paulina
Main neighborhoodWicker Park section of West Town neighborhood

Photo from a 1980s Chicago Police manual back when they used the pitchfork, you can also see the Maniac Latin Disciples tagged on the same wall off to the left but both gangs were strong allies in the 1980s.

Photo from a 1980s Chicago Police manual, I wish I could see all of this tag because it is very impressive


The common story you will read about on the internet and everywhere is that the Latin Jivers started in the early 1980s by an older gang called the Latino Stars at the intersection of Rockwell and Potomac.  This story is false or at least most of it and I will prove how it is false.

The Latin Jivers actually started at the latest in the mid 1970s, I have even heard they go as far back as 1966 and from my understanding “Birdman” was the founder.  The Jivers did not start at the infamous Maniac Latin Disciples’ headquarters of Rockwell and Potomac, they started at Pierce and Paulina in the Wicker Park section of the West Town neighborhood.  They were not called the “Latino Stars” they were called “Latin Jivers” from the start and they first clashed with the Spanish Lords and Latin Kings

I do have some evidence to support the fact that the Latin Jivers existed before 1980.  In the case of the People V. Lopez, 27 year old Angel Lopez was charged with voluntary manslaughter in 1984 for killing 17 year old Roberto “Mad Dog” Melendez who was an alleged member of the Latin Kings.  Lopez was apprehended in Florida where he had been in hiding for 6 years after he shot and killed Melendez in August of 1978 when Lopez was 21 years old at the time.  The reason Lopez shot Melendez is because Lopez said he was shot at by Melendez on two other occasions including the first time because Lopez and his friends tried to buy weed off of Melendez and Melendez refused to sell to them then shot at them as they drove away.  On another occasion Lopez was heading to work at the boys club and drove past Melendez, Melendez then shot at Lopez again and hit Lopez’ car.  Lopez then stole his dad’s .22 caliber rifle and drove up to where Melendez and his friends were hanging out and fired a bunch of shots into the group with supposedly no actual intentions of hitting anyone but he accidentally hit Melendez and killed him.  In the court case Lopez said he was not in a gang but used to hang out with the “Latin Jivers” but was never a member.  Lopez also had no criminal record, but neither did Roberto “Mad Dog” Melendez who was not on the gang file either.  Lopez’ motive for the murder was because he was scared of gangs and what they would do to him so that is why he retaliated (People V. Lopez 1984). 

The story does not make sense to me that Melendez would keep shooting at Lopez for no apparent reason.  He probably shot at Lopez because he was a Jiver or used to be a Jiver, hence, why he would not sell to him.  The reason I chose this court case to prove the Jivers’ older existence is because Lopez had disappeared out of Chicago from 1978-1984 with no contact to the streets so if the Jivers were indeed formed in the early 1980s, Lopez would have had no knowledge of the Jivers.  Lopez knew of a Latin Jivers street gang in 1978 and further back.  Lopez was 21 years old in 1978 and that means he more than likely hung out with them or was a part of the gang when he was a kid in school which would have put his knowledge of the Jivers as far back as the late 1960s.  The shooting also occurred in the Humboldt Park neighborhood where Lopez was just passing through, but Lopez did not reside there, it appears he came from the east, probably Wicker Park where the Jivers started.  All this is evidence enough that the Latin Jivers started way before the early 1980s.  Another thing I want to use as evidence is the fact that the Jivers have been Folks since the early 1980s.  The Folk Nation would not be taking in a Baseball team of young kids that decided they wanted to gang bang right off the bat.  The Folk Nation was only looking for the biggest, oldest, most ruthless, or any gang that had about a decade of experience under their belt, which means the Jivers would not have been taken in right away, no way.  I have seen old outdated early 1980s gang identifier manuals that identified Latin Jivers and even gave sets, colors and all that.  I know from looking at all these old manuals during my research that any newer gangs that formed later in the 1970s or in the 1980s would have little to no information in there, heck, these same manuals did not have La Raza and Party People in them and both those gangs started in the early 1970s!  It takes years of existence for a gang to get public recognition into a manual.  

Now that I have finished presenting my evidence let us continue with the story in the year 1980 when the Latin Jivers came across a baseball team of young pee wees called the “Latino Stars.”  The Latino Stars were turned out into the Jivers and carried on a new chapter that was far more ruthless than their 1970s counterparts that pretty much retired in the 1980s for the most part.  These new Jivers became the face of the Jivers and were now to run Pierce and Paulina in Wicker Park

Now that the Jivers were part of the Folk Nation they were able to expand greatly in the Wicker Park neighborhood as they opened up Crystal and Washtenaw “Dark Crystal” in the East Humboldt Park section of the West Town neighborhood

Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s the Latin Jivers spread like wild fire and gathered quite a following for a while as they spread further into Wicker Park opening the sets of Division and Greenview, Bosworth and Blackhawk “Brown Jungle,” Cleaver and Potomac (Pulaski Park), Greenview and Potomac “Killa Side.”  Expansion continued in the East Humboldt Park area as the Jivers opened up Rockwell and Crystal.  The Jivers also pioneered Barry and Linder in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood.  The Jivers also landed in the East Village section of the West Town neighborhood at Erie and Wood and Augusta and Wood.  Then by the late 1980s the Latin Jivers made their way into the suburbs of Rockford, Kankakee and Cicero at 24th and 57th.

The Latin Jivers were at the peak of their success by 1991 and were perhaps their strongest in numbers.  This would all start to change when their allies could not get along with each other anymore.  The Latin Jivers were not only a part of the Folk Nation but they were also a part of the “United Latino Organization” or “ULO” which mainly bounded Latin Eagles, Spanish Cobras, Latin Disciples and Imperial Gangsters together.  Now a three way war was erupting between the Spanish Cobras, Latin Disicples and Imperial Gangsters alongside Latin Eagles.  These three organizations told their allies they had to choose which one they would ally with but there was no aligning with all three, instead three families or familias were to be formed by 1992.  The Latin Jivers chose to align with the “Maniacs” and the Latin Disciples and became the “Maniac Latin Jivers.”  The Jivers were now at war with the Spanish Cobras that heated up pretty fast and at first these new wars with the “Insane Familia” and “Almighty Familia” were able to be handled but more wars brought more problems for the Jivers in later years.

In the year 1995, the Maniac Latin Disciples began getting greedier over drug turf and began selling drugs in their allies’ neighborhood, this prompted three of their “Maniac” allies to get violent with the MLDs in the summer of 1995.  The Latin Jivers were one of those 3 gangs to go to war with the MLDs and it got violent real fast.  The Jivers then went to the Spanish Cobras and called for peace and entry into the Insane Familia.  The Jivers got in and became the “Insane Latin Jivers.”  It only took a few months to maybe a year for the Jivers to realize the Cobras were no different, they also wanted all the drug turf so the Jivers declared war on the Cobras again and broke out of the Insane Familia but kept the “Insane” part of their name.  The Spanish Cobras were not happy with them keeping the “Insane” part and it made the war worse, but the Jivers did not care and openly defied the Cobras and their allies the Orquestra Albanies.  The only allies the Jivers retained were the Milwaukee Kings that had also gone renegade on the streets and to a lesser extent the Latin Stylers were allies too.

The Latin Jivers began to decline in numbers and they lost most of their territory.  Cicero was shut down along with all their suburb operations in about the mid 1990s.  The Jivers also withdrew from Belmont-Cragin and East Village.  In East Humboldt Park the Rockwell and Crystal section closed down.  The Jivers also lost some territory in Wicker Park because of gentrification as yuppies and hipsters moved in.  The Jivers continued their existence regardless and continued to be a violent and renegade force on the streets that has always been something to be reckoned with.

Please send in 1970s, 1980s, 1990s pics!


  1.  What exact year did the Jivers form?
  2. Who was the founder and what happened to jim?
  3. What was the time line of leaders up to the year 2000?
  4. What year did Pierce and Paulina fall?  Why?
  5. What exactly caused the war between Jivers and MLDs
  6. What exactly caused the war between Jivers and Cobras?
  7. What year did Cicero open?  What year did it close down?
  8. What year did East Humboldt Park sets open?


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