Imperial Gangsters

Founded Founded in 1964 by Carlos Quintanilla in or near Logan Square Humboldt Park (West Humboldt Park)
Formerly known as

Imperial Spanish Gangsters

Affiliations ;
Colors Black and Pink
Primary ethnicities Latino (Puerto Rican)
Symbols Pink Panther, Shotgun, and 7 Point Crown
Symbol usage

Rounded 7 point crown with a “G” in the middle

Status Active

The Imperial Gangster story is in two parts with two separate gangs that called themselves “Imperial Spanish Gangsters.”  The Imperial Spanish Gangsters were founded by “Spanky.”  Each club was from different neighborhood but had the same struggles as each other.  The first Imperial Gangsters gang started in 1964 in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Central Park Ave.  The members of the club attended James Russell Lowell Elementary School at Hirsch and Spaulding (3320 W Hirsch St, Chicago, IL 60651).  This put them in direct conflict with the Latin Kings from Division and Spaulding that were just blocks away from the school.

Eventually in the mid -1960s the IGs started growing over by Cameron Elementary School at Grand Ave and Division Street making the Imperial Gangsters a force to be reckoned with.

By the later 1960s, these Imperial Gangsters were attending Charles A. Prosser High School located in the Belmont – Cragin neighborhood right by Hanson Park at Central Ave and Grand Ave.

The next part of this story goes back to the year 1969 in the Logan Square neighborhood at the corner of Armitage and Drake.

Logan Square was mostly a white community but the “white flight” was starting to become a phenomenon in this neighborhood as Puerto Rican people were moving in.

By 1969 a much larger wave of Puerto Ricans were coming in and white gangs in the area were becoming infuriated.  This was the same year that the Gaylords were forming in Logan Square along Palmer Street and the notorious Lawndale and Altgeld set.  The Gaylords’ main goal was to stop Puerto Rican migration into Logan Square and they absorbed smaller white street gangs in the area to further their cause.  Eventually the young Puerto Rican youths were getting tired of being bullied by gangs like the Gaylords or other groups of angry whites so they formed their own club called the “Imperial Gangsters.”  The first appointed leader of the Imperial Gangsters was Carlos “Little Mexico” Quintanilla who was only 12 or 13 years old at the time (Chicago Tribune, Keegan, P 1, Dec 12 1979).  Soon after the Imperial Gangsters formed they opened a set on Drake and Palmer “The Motherland.”

Around the holiday season of 1969 The Imperial Gangsters and Imperial Spanish Gangsters came together as an alliance called the “Imperial Spanish Gangsters” adopting to Spanky’s organizational name.  the new meshed club adopted the colors black and pink and the rounded crown to separate themselves from the Latin King’s crown.  The Imperial Gangsters from West Humboldt Park became known as the “Cameron Gangsters” and made Cameron Grammar School their most celebrated territory.  “Spanky” was only in command all the Imperial Spanish Gangster alliance in both Humboldt Park and Logan Square from 1969-1971.  In 1971 “Godfather” took over leadership of the alliance.

In the year 1972 the Imperial Gangsters of Logan Square became heavily influenced by the movie “The Godfather” that came out that year.  These high school kids would visit “The Armitage” which was a theater that existed at 3553 W. Armitage Avenue which was right on the corner of Armitage and Drake where the IGs first started.

Under the leadership of “Little Mexico” the IGs were able to establish a relationship with the theater’s owner and offered protection from rival gangs in the area just like what the Mafia does.  The IGs acted as ushers in the theater and there were often 50+ members seen in the theater.  IGs also started dressing like Italian gangsters wearing the long coats, Al Capone shoes, the long coats with the white scarfs and they even twirled around canes.  “Little Mexico” also wanted his members to have guns, so now every member at least carried a small pistol (Chicago Tribune, Keegan, P 1, Dec 12 1979).

“Little Mexico” and the leadership of the Imperial Spanish Gangsters held a meeting at The Armitage movie theater one day in 1972 to discuss fully merging Imperial Gangster and Imperial Spanish Gangsters into one organization just known as the “Imperial Gangsters.”  Now there were about 200+ Imperial Gangsters on the streets of West Humboldt Park and Logan Square.  There would still be separate leadership for each faction; however, they were now under one name and one organization.  Around the time of this merger the IGs now were offering protection to a cleaners and a restaurant that offered them free stuff and free services.  This success that the IGs were coming across was soon met with envy from the powerful Latin Kings street gang.  The Latin Kings wanted to be the only Puerto Rican street gang in all of Humboldt Park and now they were spreading into several more north side neighborhoods including Logan Square this eventually brought the IGs into a full scale war with Latin Kings.  Imperial Gangster’s biggest enemies were now Latin Kings, Gaylords and Simon City Royals.

In 1973, “Little Mexico” was now 17 years old and was about to have a child; therefore, he left the Imperial Gangsters gang life and went to college then went on to work with gang members helping them to turn their lives around.  After Little Mexico left, “Mad Dog” took over in 1973, and he ran it until he was imprisoned in 1975.

In the mid-1970s, the IGs opened new territory at Sawyer and Armitage in Logan Square and North Ave and Hamlin in West Humboldt Park.  This was also the point in time when Gaylords and Latin Kings were getting really large in size in IG territory, these gangs were becoming giants.  The IGs had something in common with the Latin Disciples (MLDs), Spanish Cobras, Latin Eagles and Orquestra Albany, and that was that they all hated Latin Kings and were all outnumbered by Latin Kings.  These gangs began drawing closer to each other until they became pretty tight by 1978.

The in year 1978 these gangs created the “United Latino Organization” (ULO) which unified these street gangs against Latin Kings and the rival “UFO” which consisted of 5 large white gangs that included the Gaylords.  In the same year 1978 in April, the Imperial Gangsters joined the Folk Nation alliance that was created behind prison walls.  Spanish Cobras, Latin Disciples, Latin Eagles all had joined this alliance so it was a perfect fit for the IGs.

In the late 1970s Latinos were beginning to colonize the neighborhood of Hermosa especially by Kelvyn Park and this brought IGs to the neighborhood.  The Spanish Cobras were beginning an attempt to take over Kelvyn Park but assistance was greatly needed because the Gaylords and the Young Freaks (Stoned Freaks) were battling Cobras back.  Imperial Gangsters had already attended Kelvyn Park High School and were fighting with white gangs that went there now IGs were moving into the neighborhood.

In the late 1970s, the Imperial Gangster opened one of the first Chicago based Hispanic gang chapters in history when they opened in the suburb of Franklin Park (The Jungle).  This Imperial Gangsters would become legendary as they managed to prevent any other gangs from growing in that area and they viciously battled rival gangs from nearby Maywood and Bellwood.

In the 1980s and into the 1990s the IGs opened territory in Hermosa, Irving Park, Albany Park, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Belmont – Cragin, Marquette Park and Brighton Park.  The IGs also opened in some suburbs like Cicero, Franklin Park, and were the first gang to arrive in the suburb of Bensenville in 1982.

In the late 1980s, Imperial Gangsters first became “Almighty” even though the Almighty family did not exist yet, but the name was there and this helped IGs identify better with Insane Popes, Simon City Royals and Latin Eagles.

in 1989,  a argument happened at a party with the Western and Cortez Imperial Gangsters.  One of the MLDs got into it with “Flaco G” of the Imperial Gangsters and this led to the MLD shooting Flaco G dead at the party.  Angry feelings ensued but a war was not initiated as an agreement was reached.  The real anger came months later when another MLD shot and killed another Imperial Gangster and the IGs threatened war if MLDs did not turn over the shooter, the MLDs refused and this started a very nasty war between Maniac Latin Disciples and Imperial Gangsters.  This became the first major Folk against Folk war on the northern part of the city.

The war with the Western and Cortez Imperial Gangsters was nasty over the next two years as several shootings went down between them.  Very frequently Western and Cortez Imperial Gangsters would take shots at MLDs right after school at nearby Roberto Clemente High School, this led to “Flintstone G” of the Imperial Gangsters making an attempted assassination until he ran out of bullets then he ran home and cut through the gangway at Augusta and Cortez where an MLD was waiting in the alley for him and shot him dead.

At about New Years Even of 1991, going into 1992, the Imperial Gangster and Maniac Latin Disciple war ended for the time being.  The war was ugly when it happened and it led to issues with Insanes as well as Imperial Gangsters began having feuds with Insane Campbell Boys, Spanish Cobras and YLO Cobras, relations were not looking good with fellow Folks and the Almighty family did not exist yet and there was conflict with Maniacs and Insanes.  It was then rumored that there were discussions in prison between Imperial Gangsters and Latin Kings over the possibility of IGs flipping to the People alliance, however, much of the IG nation was infuriated with such a possibility and this never happened according to the rumor. One thing that did happen in 1992 was the closing of Western and Cortez as the wars with Insanes and Maniacs became very intense.

The IGs did open solid territory in the suburb of Franklin Park “The Jungle” in the 1980s; however, the Cicero chapter had to close down by the late 1980s but Franklin remained strong.  Other than that, the IGs had not lost too much territory over time and had kept the vast majority of their Logan Square turf.  Some sets in Logan Square had closed along with Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park because of the gentrification that brought many yuppies and hipsters to IG neighborhoods, but the gang still remains strong in Logan Square.

Imperial Gangster joined the “Almighty” alliance in 1994 when it was first created.