|Founded||Founded c. 1950 in or near Near West Side|
|Formerly known as||
Latin Counts 1950-1978
|Colors||Black and Red|
|Primary ethnicities||Latino (Mexican)|
|Symbols||Count Dracula, Knight's Helmet, and Cross|
Cross with 5 slashes above it 1978-present
The Latin Counts are one of the oldest active street gangs in the city of Chicago. The Latin Counts’ story takes us to the West Loop section of Chicago’s Near West Side neighborhood. This neighborhood was the very first barrio where there was a larger population of both Mexicans and Puerto Ricans living among African Americans, Italians and Greeks.
In the year 1950, street gangs were starting to become a bigger problem in the neighborhood as Italian gangs like the Taylor Dukes and other gangs were starting to cause trouble for the Mexican people. A younger group broke off from the Sons of Mexico City to form a street gang that they called the “Latin Counts.” I do not know who the founder is nor do I know what was the Counts’ first street corner in the West Loop. I also have no info on the Sons of Mexico City other than the Counts came from this group that started in the 1940s.
In the year 1958, many residents in the West Loop and Little Italy area were notified that their houses were to be torn down to make way for The Circle Interchange construction or for the extensions of the University Of Illinois Chicago campus. This plan displaced mostly Mexican and Puerto Rican people by the thousands. The Puerto Rican people went to live in Lincoln Park and that is when the Young Lords street gang formed in that neighborhood. The Puerto Rican youths that stayed in the West Loop who were clear of the construction for the time being ran with the Latin Kings. The Mexican people that were displaced moved into the Little Village neighborhood and also in the Pilsen section of the Lower West Side neighborhood mainly along 18th street.
The Latin Counts street gang was completely moved from the West Loop into Pilsen and successfully settled at the corner of 18th and Loomis. The Latin Counts were even documented by social services in 1959 as they visited 17th and Racine at the Howell House. When the Latin Counts arrived they discovered several other gangs were displaced from the old neighborhood as well along 18th street such as the Morgan Deuces, Ambrose and the Spartans. They also discovered the Rampants and Ambrose were trying to dominate 18th Street. Ambrose had developed strong at 18th and Throop while the Rampants were dominating by 18th and Halsted. From the start in Pilsen, Latin Counts and Ambrose began battling each other because Ambrose wanted to run all of 18th street and they even dismantled the Rampants.
In the 1960s, the Latin Counts battled Ambrose viciously for control of 18th street and the Latin Counts opened territory at 18th and Ashland which brought them conflict with the Satan Disciples that were trying to control everything west of Ashland Ave. The Counts solidified their presence at 18th and Laflin so basically they controlled 18th street from Ashland down to Loomis. The Counts would end up going against the Racine Boys of 18th and Racine and the Morgan Deuces of 18th and Morgan, so now the Counts had their hands full with gang wars, nevertheless, they fought those wars successfully in the 1960s and membership swelled by the late 1960s.
In the 1970s the Latin Counts grew to the point where Counts and Ambrose became the largest gangs in Pilsen, mainly East Pilsen. Latin Counts, Ambrose and Satan Disciples successfully kept the Latin Kings smaller in the Pilsen area and the Counts alone successfully kept the Two Sixs out of Pilsen. The Latin Counts had old animosity towards the Latin Kings that stemmed from a rivalry with the Royal Kings street gang that formed in the West Loop area back in the 1950s, now the Royal Kings were within the Latin King Nation and so were the Coulter Kings that had formed in Pilsen. Latin Kings and Latin Counts were built to be enemies in the 1950, 1960s and 1970s, just like the rivalry that started between Ambrose and Counts back in the 1950s in the West Loop area.
On November 11, 1978 the Folk and People nation alliances were formed in the Illinois prison systems starting in the Pontiac Correctional Facility. This unity brought together the biggest and/or oldest of street gangs in Chicago, on that list was the Latin Counts to be taken into the People nation alliance as they became tightly aligned with the Latin Kings due to their common enemies that were aligned within the rival Folk Nation. Ambrose and Satan Disciples joining Folks was definitely a selling point to get the Counts into the People alliance which would cause them to reluctantly accept Latin Kings as their allies. An alliance with the the EL Rukns (Black P Stones) became quite strong once the People Nation was created. I have heard that deep in Latin Count Literature they can be referred to as “Latin Count Stones” but I do not know if this is true, regardless the Counts became real close to the EL Rukns.
As the 1980s rolled in the Latin Counts began expanding outside of the Pilsen neighborhood as they grew into the corner of Coulter and Western in the Heart of Chicago section (or you can say West Pilsen). They opened a big set at 35th and Damen in the Mckinley Park neighborhood. They would soon expand into the Brighton Park neighborhood at 42nd and Fairfield. They opened territory in the Back of The Yards section of the New City neighborhood at 48th and Morgan. The Counts would also expand into the Marquette Park neighborhood at 73rd and Richmond and 71st and Albany. The Latin Counts most successful conquests were in the South Deering and South Chicago neighborhoods where they opened lots of territory and recruited hundreds if not thousands more members.
In the early 1980s the Counts expanded into the city of Detroit Michigan where the organization grew like wild fire, the Counts also expanded into many other states in the U.S. especially Indiana. The Counts also settled heavily in the Chicago land suburbs with prominent sets in Chicago Heights, West Chicago, Addison, Cicero, and Romeoville just to name a few. The Cicero branch was especially buck wild as they opened “The Red Zone” which is Roosevelt Road to 18th Street and Austin to 58th Ave, and they also opened in the Grant Works section at 14th and 58th Ave. All along the way the Latin Counts aggressively attacked rival Folk nation gangs especially by the late 1980s and into the early 1990s; they were known for gunning down enemies and smashing on them. The Counts were also great fighters when it came to one on one fights or rumbling as a group against another group. The Counts of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s taught the younger Counts how to be fearless and to take what should be theirs and this philosophy led the Counts to dominate a lot of new territory.
The Latin Count relations with Latin Kings was a tough one to swallow in the 1980s for both gangs. The Counts were perhaps the second largest Latino street gang to join the People alliance in 1978 and relations with Latin Kings needed to immediately be positive in the joint back in the late 1970s, but in the streets it was another story as both gangs still hated each other, it took the People Nation alliance being enforced on the streets clearly in 1983 for both gangs to get along better. Kings and Counts did establish a decent relationship in the mid-1980s, but by the late 1980s they began to slowly dislike each other again.
In the year 1991, it was starting to become clear that Latin Counts and Latin Kings did not like each other. Back in the 1960s and 1970s the two gangs used to slug it out in the streets especially when Latin Kings (Coulter Kings faction) wanted a piece of 18th street. The Counts started their aggressive conquest of taking over new sections and new suburbs that increased by the later 1980s much to the dissatisfaction of the Latin Kings. The Counts were the other large Latino People Nation gang that south side youths and suburban kids identified with and were valued the same as Latin Kings to many youths and this created recruitment and drug turf competition between the two gangs because they were the largest Latino People Nation gangs.
Most of the times you would see Kings and Counts hanging out in the 80s were in the suburbs and other states other than that it was just not full scale war, but sometimes in the city they would break out into a big rumble or be pals on some days. I just said the Counts and Kings got along better in the suburbs but it was in the suburbs where all hell began to break loose. Chicago Heights was ripe with opportunity for gangs to sell drugs and recruit and both Kings and Counts wanted to dominate by 1990, this led them both to not like each other and began disrespecting each other and fist fighting. In 1991, the Latin Counts finally got sick of it and just went up to a Latin King and gunned him down, after this the Kings and Counts engaged in the bloodiest interalliance gang war in Chicago history, they hate each other as much as they hate Folks. The war was welcomed in South Chicago and South Deering because both gangs were in heavy competition for drug turf.
In the same year of 1991, the Latin Counts were having disputes with their closest ally the Bishops in the suburb of Cicero. It all started with a party in which a Bishop and Count were arguing then got into a fist fight. The Bishop would not calm down after the altercation and later that night he strolled to the outside of the Latin Count gang members’ home and shouted disrespectful things about the Latin Counts then started shooting at the house but did not hit his intended target instead he shot the gang members’ girlfriend in the chest, she died instantly.
Later on that night a Latin Count named “Rhino” gunned down a Bishop named “Chuco” to avenge the death of the Counts’ girlfriend. Now the “Bishop Count Nation” or “BCN” was no more. After all those years of partying together, backing each other up in fights and being willing to die for each other for over two decades came to screeching halt as the two would now engage in a vicious and unforgiving gang war within the People alliance that was not fixable except maybe in prison. In the midst of all these gang wars the Latin Counts established a closer alliance with the Conservative Vice Lords and the Spanish Vice Lords since they all hated Latin Kings, Bishops and of course all Folks. The Latin Counts could now sometimes use the cane in their literature and symbols if they wanted to.
The Latin Counts would eventually lose territory in Brighton Park and the Back of The Yards neighborhoods because they wanted more concentration in South Deering, South Chicago and Pilsen. Some gentrification and heavier police presence got the Latin Counts off of 18th and Ashland and after that no gang settled in this section due to too much attention from police and citizens. Overall the Latin Counts would not loose very much turf over their years even though they have had thousands of members to control; they kept things organized and ruthless.
Please send in old school pics, 1950s and 1960s pics would be extra appreciated!
- What year did the Sons Of Mexico City form?
- What year did the Latin Counts form?
- Who was the founder of Sons Of Mexico City?
- Who was the founder of the Latin Counts?
- What was the first corner for the Counts in the Near West Side neighborhood?
- What were Latin Counts allies and enemies in the earlier 1950s
- What happened to the founder?
- What is the time line of leaders up until the year 2000?
- What year did Back Of The Yards open? What year did it close down and why?
- What year did Marquette Park open? What year did it close and why?
- What year did Mckinley Park open?
- What year did Cicero open?
- What year did Chicago Heights open?
- Did Latin Counts have any alliance with Latin Kings in the 1950s and 1960s? Were to Counts born out of the Kings in any which way back in the 50s?
- What year did Kings and Counts go to war before the People nation existed and why?