|Founded||Founded in or near West Town: East Humboldt Park|
Founded in East Humboldt Park
|Colors||Black and Green|
|Primary ethnicities||Latino (Puerto Rican)|
|Symbols||Cobra, Diamond, Staff, and 3 Dots|
Cobra snake, diamond with three dots, staff with diamond and three dots, pitchfork 1978-1992
The history of the Spanish Cobras has been very difficult to understand and had me even mixed up for a long time. Many stories surfaced that the Cobras date back to the 1950s or early 1960s but the stories are very lacking and no one seems to know anything about it. I had also heard from someone that was locked up with big time Cobras that Cobras date back to 1958 but again, there were no details. The truth is there really was a “Spanish Cobras” gang that did exist since at least 1959 or further back that existed on the streets of West Garfield Park. I did extensive research on this organization thinking it was part of the small Puerto Rican community that used to exist along Madison Street in East and West Garfield Park. I found a court case from 1966 and several articles detailing about murders and gang fights and even partial ownership of a Midas Muffler shop in 1969, but something was off…these Cobras were all black. No Hispanic names ever came up and that’s when it dawned on me that this “Spanish Cobras” entity is not the same as the Insane Spanish Cobras we know today. This got me thinking that perhaps all the legends of the Cobras dating back to the 50s was mistaken with the founding story of the ISCN. Perhaps other guys in the past got hold of the same articles I did and pieced the same thing together I did and concluded the Cobras date this far back, or perhaps some black Spanish Cobras came into prison claiming to be “Spanish Cobras” when in reality they were not ISCN but instead part of the west side group. By 1970, the Spanish Cobras of the west side were caught up in a police raid going down in Lincoln Park as they plotted to raid multiple public buildings alongside the Black Assassins and the Devil’s Disciples. These were perhaps all Cabrini Green teens. The article says “Latin Cobras” but I know the reporters meant to say “Spanish Cobras.” Many may be confused on why a black gang would incorporate “Spanish” into their name, well, it has been done before. The “Spanish Counts” were a black gang and even reported as such in the newspaper back in 1958 when they shot someone with a .45 caliber pistol, so using “Spanish” as a black gang has happened. Here are some articles below all about these black Spanish Cobras that likely have nothing to do with the ISCN.
The second “Spanish Cobra” gang is one that started in the Bridgeport neighborhood back in the 1960s. According to the Jinx book it says they formed in the 1960s. There is multiple claims of this entity and some have said this group founded the Humboldt Park Cobras and I am a believer in this and back up what Jinx says. Older people in Bridgeport have been claiming since the 1970s that Cobras were there at the intersection of 32nd and Morgan. The Cobras’ main headquarters was a building at 3219 S. Morgan Street. I don’t know exactly when they started in the 60s but I theorize it was mid-1960s, about 1964 because that’s about when the Latin Kings arrived at 27th and Normal. The Spanish Chancellors also formed right at the time. There were indeed Puerto Ricans in Bridgeport in the 1960s that exclusively settled in the nearby Bridgeport Homes, so the Puerto Rican easily could have created the Cobras a few blocks away. Bridgeport was known back then to be rather racist toward racial minorities, therefore, there was a need for a Puerto Rican gang to fight the white greasers on Morgan Street.
The south side Cobra group did not last long and even expanded to 46th and Lawler in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood but by 1974 both Bridgeport and 46th closed down which ended these south side Cobras until they returned to have some south side territory in the mid-1980s or later.
The Bridgeport Cobras actually left back in 1973 and Bridgeport people knew where they went to, they claimed the Cobras moved up north. We know that to be East Humboldt Park.
It is rumored the original name for the Cobras was “Loco De Culebra,” however, there is no news articles, court cases or even much oral legend behind this claim. This leads me to believe that this name was very short lived, perhaps only for a few months. I strongly believe Culebra Loco met the “Twinkie” Brothers when they arrived at Maplewood and Potomac/Campbell. I theorize Culebra Loco flipped to Spanish Cobras in 1973, thus, giving a early boost to the newly arrived Cobras.
The south side Cobra colors were black and maroon. In the early days of Maplewood and Potomac/Campbell the colors changed to purple and white which is said to have been Culbra Loco colors and by 1975 the colors were black and green, changed by Richard “King Cobra” Medina.
In 1973, the first corner the Spanish Cobras operated at was Hirsch and Artesian but that didn’t last long before they moved operations Maplewood and Campbell.
In 1973 and forward the corner of Maplewood and Campbell/Potomac became the motherland of the Insane Spanish Cobra nation. When Cobras arrived here they hit the ground running as they also opened Artesian and Potomac and Artesian and Artesian and Lemoyne, these two sections called themselves “Young Spanish Cobras” and in later years Artesian and Potomac Cobras became legendary gunners. At the same time the Spanish Cobras first arrived in Logan Square at the intersection of Mozart and Cortland; this is the story of how Logan Square Spanish Cobras came to be and it all went down in 1973, as this new nation was already growing into a giant very quickly.
A bond developed between Spanish Cobras and Latin Disciples and this led some Disciples and Cobras to call themselves “Almighty” back in the early 1970s. The Latin Lovers were also Almighty when they formed in 1973 but this all was short lived after the Disciples started “Maniac” concepts for their senior members in 1973.
In the year 1973, Richard “King Cobra” Medina settled in the East Humboldt Park neighborhood at the intersection Campbell and Potomac. Soon these Cobras spread to Haddon and Washtenaw. Then eventually Division and Maplewood down to Maplewood and Potomac as Division and Maplewood became the headquarters.
In 1973, Richard Medina A.K.A King Cobra became new leader this renegade group of Spanish Cobras at the age of 14, his younger brothers Jaime and William also were given rank. At this point in time in the mid-1970s the Spanish Cobras found a new enemy the Insane Unknowns. The Insane Unknowns set up shop at the legendary street corner of Leavitt and Schiller in Wicker Park. Even though this corner was the motherland and birth place of north side Latin Kings it came under Insane Unknown control by 1975 because many Kings there flipped to Unknowns and that started a war between IUK and LKs. Anyway, now the Spanish Cobras and Unknowns were at each other’s throats.
The main reason for the war with the Insane Unknowns was the creation of the “Insane” concepts that King Cobra created in 1975 two years after he opened territory in East Humboldt Park/Wicker Park area. He called these new Cobras the “Renegade Cobras” when he opened this turf in 1973. In 1975 Medina created the “Insane” moniker and developed those concepts in the early years. A short time later the Unknowns became know as the “Insane Unknowns” and this infuriated Medina. He demanded the IUKs drop the Insane from their name but they refused and that is what started this war between the two.
In 1976 Richard “King Cobra” Medina took over control of all the Spanish Cobras at age 17 and immediately reached out to the Latin Disciples street gang because he knew the Disciples were having a major problem with the “U.F.O” (United Five Organization) which was the alliance of white power gangs the C-Notes, Gaylords, Taylor Jousters, Chi West, and PVPs or PVRs that had been going on since 1973 and was growing stronger. There was also the Latin Kings that were really large in size and trying to take over everything. This new unity became known as the “Young Latino Organization” or “YLO.”
It was during this “Capone era” during King Cobra’s rule that Spanish Cobras expanded further as they now landed in West Humboldt Park in 1976 at Ridgeway and Thomas and Springfield and Hirsch. Back to East Humboldt Park, a new section opened at Fairfield and Lemoyne, Haddon and Washtenaw and Evergreen and Washtenaw. The Evergreen Hustlers were at Evergreen and Washtenaw and flipped to Cobras at this later part of the 1970s.
In April, 1978 Larry Hoover, the leader of the Black Gangster Disciple Nation created the Folk Nation alliance behind prison walls. His goal was to immediately unite the BGDs and Black Disciples and to also unite with Latino and white gangs. The Spanish Cobras were one of the Latino gangs that were asked to join the Folk Nation along with some other allies like the Imperial Gangsters, Latin eagles, Orquestra Albany and the Latin Disciples. The Spanish Cobras were also allied with the Simon City Royals and the Almighty Insane Popes.
The Spanish Cobras had become highly organized at this point in time which is known as the “Capone era,” and a lot of that was credited to King Cobra and maybe that is why his praises went so far that he was accredited as the founder of the Spanish Cobras. Realistically he was just the founder of a more organized Cobra gang. His Brothers Jaime and William moved up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and started the Milwaukee chapter of the Spanish Cobras. These three men knew how to organize and had charisma and that is why they were legends to the organization.
In the late 1970s, the Spanish Cobras absorbed the “Crazy Ricans” gang that was located at Haddon and Washtenaw making the Cobras even larger in size.
Tragedy struck on April 12, 1979 when Richard King Cobra Medina had just pulled up at his residence at Maplewood and Division with his girlfriend and their new born baby. Richard could smell something in the air and somehow knew something bad was going to go down. He told his girl to take the baby and hurry up and get inside. Richard began unloading the baby car seat and as he did a car pulled up and fired several bullets into his body and he was found slumped over the baby seat and was DOA at the scene, he was 20 years old when he died. The Leavitt and Schiller Insane Unknowns were to blame for the murder in retaliation for the killing of Ruben Perez an original Insane Unknown. The Cobras were now full of hate and ready to kill.
Anibal “Tuffy C” Santiago took over as the new leader of the Spanish Cobras. A few days later the Spanish Cobras got their revenge and shot up Ramon “Papo” Cruz who was shot dead at 1053 N. Springfield Ave (Thomas and Springfield). The Spanish Cobras shot him 9 times making this murder a bloody mess. Police arrested James Rosado, at the time 19 years old, for the murder and claimed he shot him with 25 and 38 caliber handguns. This went down the same day that King Cobra was killed. The Spanish Cobras wasted no time in getting revenge; they would not even sleep on it before going out for a murder. After this more murdering went down, the Insane Unknowns got their revenge for Papo’s death, and then the Cobras retaliated. By April 22nd there were two more murders as the Insane Unknowns put bags on their heads and blasted 4 kids that claimed they were not Spanish Cobras, nevertheless, the Unknowns opened fire on all 4 youths and killed two brothers. This occurred at 3848 West Hirsch (between Avers and Hirsch and Springfield and Hirsch). At that point 6 people had been killed due to this bloody gang war and this does not account for the several beatings, gang fights, graffiti, and other destruction and violence that occurred during this war. The bloody saga continued and this brought attention from all of law enforcement and Mayor Jane Byrne. The gang war became well published, as many newspapers published the murders I listed in issues of the 1979 Chicago Tribune, which is where I got this info, and the Spanish Cobras now reached a new level of infamy to the world.
The intense war with the Unknowns did not fizzle out a little until 1981, regardless, the Cobras made it a point to kill at least one rival every anniversary day since King Cobra’s death in 1980, 1981 and 1982 until law enforcement cracked down on it on April 12, 1983 when they spotted Spanish Cobras chanting gang slogans at Richard Medina’s grave. They were all arrested for disorderly conduct which caused no shooting to happen that day. It was also in 1981 that Tuffy C was convicted of the October 7 for the murder of Juan Gomez at the corner of Monticello and Courtland in Logan Square, which he is still doing time for, he was 23 years old at the time (People vs. Gutierrez, 1985).
In 1979, the Spanish Cobras came up with the idea to divide the ULO in a friendly way. The Cobras proposed that “Insane” and “Maniac” would be two separate entities and the closest allies to the Cobras or Latin Disciples would chose to be Maniacs or Insanes. There was no war between Maniacs and Insanes and it was even seldom tagged on the walls, it was just a way to divide Cobras from Disciples in a friendly way.
In the early 1980s, the Spanish Cobras made a conquest to the Wicker Park neighborhood as they opened at Bosworth and Lemoyne. This put them on the map in yet another neighborhood.
Cobras would also spread into the Albany Park neighborhood in the 1980s for the first time.
In the year 1984, Spanish Cobras opened at Fullerton and Tripp and Tripp and Dickens sections in the Hermosa neighborhood after battling Gaylords and Stoned Freaks in that area, this now put the Cobras on the map in another neighborhood.
Some legendary sections to open in the mid-1980s in Logan Square where Central Park and Dickens and Francis and Stave (1985). Shubert and Avers would open in 1990.
In the 1980s the Spanish Cobras continued to grow and kept their Folk Nation allies close to them and avoided interalliance wars. The Cobras also had very strong connections with the Black Gangster Disciples and the Latin Disciples and showed the pitchfork in all their literature and spray painted gang symbols. By the late 1980s the Cobras spread into the Chicago land suburbs like Waukegan, Elgin, Deerfield, Wheeling and Bensenville.
starting in 1987, newer Spanish Cobras and Latin Disciples did not get along as well as the older members of each gang. Fist fights would break out and other kinds of drama between both gangs that older members completely avoided, instead the older members organized the conflicts. The older members would bring the younger members into a school yard and let them have a big brawl to get all the frustrations out then after that there was peace. It was sort of like being a parent having young siblings that don’t get along, make them fight it out and then shake hands afterward. This was a great way of keeping YLO/ULO Folks in tact but it was still concerning that the younger members of Cobras and Disciples were having these conflicts to begin with but for these next 5 years this is how conflicts were effectively resolved.
Spanish Cobras would also end up in a major conflict with fellow ULO allies the Latin Eagles starting the night of September 9, 1989. The Latin Eagles threw a party at Caguas Nightclub which used to be located at 2444 West North Ave in the Logan Square neighborhood. The Eagles invited allies from the Spanish Cobras, Maniac Latin Disciples and Campbell Boys to the party. As the night went on a fight broke out between a Latin Eagle and a Spanish Cobra, eventually someone pulled out a gun and started firing it off. The crowd panicked and ran out the door in a hurry. Outside the fight turned into a massive brawl that ended up resulting in the beating death of a Wrigleyville Latin Eagle named “Lil Rook” with a two by four piece of wood (Illinois People vs. Johnson, 1995).
After this beating death of the Latin Eagle war ensued between Latin Eagles and Spanish Cobras putting a dent in the ULO coalition. Only Kenneth/Kostner and Armitage Latin Eagles stayed out of the war but the rest of the Eagles now hated Spanish Cobras.
In the year 1990, the Francis and Stave Cobras opened up the Kosciuszko Park (Koz Park) and took the intersection of Shubert and Avers. This became a legendary section.
In 1992, the skirmishes between Insanes and Maniacs became even more frequent and it boiled into the first major war between Cobras and Disciples as a series of shootouts happened for two days straight that was bad enough to make it on the news. The war was stopped once older members put an end to it.
In the aftermath of the 1992 war, the Insane and Maniac families made their organizations more official than ever before and intensified the divide. Now Cobras went by “Insane Spanish Cobra” while Latin Disciples now went by “Maniac Latin Disciple” at all times. This divide now caused their allies to back up Cobras or Maniacs whenever there was violence going on against each other. Another group splintered out of ULO known as the “Almighty” alliance. The Simon City Royals, Insane Popes, Latin eagles and Imperial Gangsters went that route.
The Maniacs took in the YLO Disciples, Maniac Campbell Boys, Maniac Latin Stylers, Maniac Jatin Jivers, Maniac Latin Lovers, and the Maniac Milwaukee Kings. The Spanish Cobras and Insane familia took in the YLO Cobras, Insane Orquestra Albany, Insane Ashland Vikings, Insane Deuces, Insane Campbell Boys, Insane Dragons and the Insane Harrison Gents. In response to all this the Imperial Gangsters and Latin Eagles refused to take either side and refused to be taxed or ruled by either alliance so they started their own called the “almighty family.” This alliance originally consisted of Almighty Imperial Gangsters, Almighty Simon City Royals, Almighty Latin Eagles and the Almighty Insane Popes (North side). This of course meant a 3 way war between all these alliances.
In 1992 things got real bloody between the Cobras and the Simon City Royals. Now the Cobras were at war with two of the Almighty families and soon a third Almighty family would have conflict with the Cobras, the Imperial Gangsters. As soon as war began with Imperial Gangsters word spread among Spanish Cobras lightning fast and within no time that day there was 10 car loads of Cobras at the intersection of Fullerton and Drake stopping traffic looking for Imperial Gangsters while dropping their gang sign in disrespect. Eventually they found an Imperial Gangster and shot him then all hell broke loose.
Another bad incident happened in April of 1992 when MLDs accused Orlando of the Spanish Cobras of selling them bad drugs, MLDs swiftly got vengeance by shooting Orlando to death which started a major riot in the streets between Cobras and Disciples that went on for two days and even made the news. The Kedzie and Barry MLDs were the ones involved on the Disciple side. The guns blazed all around Logan Square for those two days as both gangs were hitting each other hard back and forth until it was resolved.
In November of 1993 the friction between Maniacs and Insanes boiled over some more after conflict exploded at a party at a corner house at California and Cortez in the East Humboldt Park neighborhood. The Spanish Cobras and all their Insane family allies decided to throw a massive party that went into the late hours of the night. The party was mainly thrown by Spanish Cobras, YLO Cobras, Insane Campbell Boys and Insane Dragons. A live DJ was spinning that night and a dance floor was full of activity as the DJ spun away into the night while everyone was drinking and having a good time. As the night progressed Maniac Latin Disciples from Talman and Washtenaw (Murder Town MLDs) heard about the party since they were just a few blocks away. The Disciples felt they had ownership of California and Cortez and figured they can crash any party they want at any time and that’s exactly what happened. These MLDs came to the party uninvited and began dancing on the dance floor in cocky way while waiving pistols in the air and showing them off. All the Insanes were bothered right away by this cocky behavior and began griping to each other about how it was disrespectful but these MLDs felt it was disrespectful to have a party in their territory without an invite. Some main members of the Spanish Cobras now gathered at the doorway which prompted one of the MLDs to act even more cocky while waving his pistol around. The Cobras then threatened the MLDs and this prompted MLDs to gather reinforcements of their own and from allies, the Cobras followed suit. Soon several members of the Spanish Cobras, YLO Cobras, Insane Dragons and Insane Campbell Boys gathered with guns in hand on one side of the street, while several Maniac Latin Disciples, YLO Disciples, Maniac Campbell Boys and Latin Jivers gathered on the opposite side of the street with guns in hand too. Both sides gathered up while hurling insults and shouting at each other until there were about 150 gang members on each side of the street on each side, totaling 300 gang members in total! By 3:30 in the morning the shouting conflict got violent as the guns started sparking and a violent gun fight ensued that last five minutes. One of the Insane Dragons even began firing an Uzi at the Maniacs. Store windows were being shot to pieces and cars roved the intersection doing drive by shootings at the crowds, the scene was total anarchy and chaos to the point that the Chicago police were too scared to show up. The crowds soon disbursed as they continued to blast at each other and this broke the violence into pockets all around the vicinity as you could hear gun shots echoing from all around. It took the police nearly an hour to show up just after the Insane Dragons made another trip thundering down California looking for more MLDs to shoot at. Several people were shot that night and the bad blood was becoming worse between Maniacs and Insanes, however, surprisingly after this gun battle peace came back upon the Maniacs and Insanes.
In 1994 relations with Maniacs worsened when the Insane Campbell Boys shot and killed Nelson “Wolfie” Vargas who was a Maniac Latin Disciple. The Disciples blamed the Cobras for the shooting even though it really was Cobra allies. The shooting was done in front of Roberto Clemente School in broad daylight in front of everyone and since a Spanish Cobra was standing next to the shooter. After this incident the Spanish Cobras forced the Insane Campbell Boys to close their operations immediately and many flipped to Spanish Cobras or Insane Dragons.
On June 29, 1994, the Cobras defeated the Simon City Royals at Jensen Park in the Albany Park neighborhood and took it over. The Royals planned on hitting the Cobras back and it resulted in the fatal shooting of Jacobo Lozada on the night of July 1st when, according to the court case of the People vs. Georgakapoulos three Royals emerged from an alley near the park and shot Lozada while he was riding a bicycle. They only fired one bullet but the shot was accurate and enough to kill Lozada. This started a permanent war between Cobras and Royals.
In late 1994 or maybe early 1995, another war sparked off between Spanish Cobras and Maniac Latin Disciples that lasted two weeks and once again it was squashed but again this was another example of how relations were crumbling.
By 1995 the followers of the Maniacs began to realize that being a Maniac was not what was right for them as they disagreed with MLDs’ taxes and rules and then declared war on them. The Latin Jivers broke from the Maniacs and became Insane for maybe a year then went independent and went to war with the Cobras. The Latin Lovers also dropped Maniac but they went over to Insane and stayed there. The Milwaukee Kings also broke away from Maniac but then stayed independent. The Cobras also experienced conflict with their own Harrison Gents, although it was not initially the Cobras’ fault that the HGs were leaving, it was because Ashland Vikings and HGs could not get along and the HGs left the Insanes in favor of the Almighty family where they remain today. The Cobras found a replacement for the Gents, the C-Notes who previously were an independent organization and a part of the UFO alliance.
On February 13, 1996 the Spanish Cobras made front page news when members of the Talman and Wabansia MLDs attempted a mass execution of members of the Spanish Cobras at three street corners in the East Humboldt Park neighborhood. Johnny “Don Loco” Almadovar ordered the murders of random Spanish Cobras to avenge the murder of a Maniac Latin Disciple member “Hi Lo” earlier that month. The shooting was carefully planned accept for the fact that the victims all survived the brutal executions. Initially, small groups of Cobras got revenge by shooting some MLDs on the streets and that was seen to the public eye as the revenge, but in reality the Cobras had a bigger, more behind the scenes, and patiently planned attack against the MLDs.
Spanish Cobra leaders met at a Day’s Inn Hotel on Mannheim Road near O’Hare Airport to plan a counterattack. The Cobras then picked out who they were going to kill and when. The hits would be coordinated with a police scanner. The Cobras also called up their allies to do the murders, the Insane Deuces, Latin Lovers etc….. The murders were carried out in various locations such as: Logan Square, East Village, Hermosa, Albany Park, Ravenswood section of the Lincoln Square neighborhood, Ukrainian Village section of the West Town neighborhood and the suburbs of Waukegan and Aurora. High ranking members were carefully executed by allies of the Cobras and these did not make headline news as tied together. The Cobra retaliation was indeed far more superior and clever than the Godfather Style hits by the MLDs in Humboldt Park (Hagedorn, The Insane Chicago Way, P. 193 and 194).
After the shootings war ensued for a few months until peace was established once again between Cobras and Disciples by the time the weather got nicer in 1996.
In 1997, the war went into permanent effect after the YLO Cobras shot and killed “Omski” from the MLDs in an Aldi parking lot on Armitage Avenue. Omski was putting groceries in his car alongside his wife when he was “Lil Minor” a known YLOC gunner spotted him and gunned him down. Omski was the chief of the Beldon and Kenneth chapter of MLDs and had a run in with Lil Minor and Omski pistol whipped Lil Minor some months prior, so Lil Minor was seeking revenge. This sparked the MLDs and Spanish Cobras into permanent war that could only be frozen during the annual Puerto Rican day parade.
It was also the same year of 1997 that the Spanish Cobras kicked off into full fledged war with the Latin Eagles in all sections after Cobras killed “Mono” of the Eagles.
In the spring of 1999, the Maniac Latin Disciples and Spanish Cobra leadership decided it was finally time to end this vicious war between them and hold a peace conference at the YMCA located at 1834 North Lawndale Ave in the Logan Square neighborhood. Leaders of both Maniac street gangs like MLDs, YLO Disciples, Maniac Campbell Boys and Latin Stylers showed up, and leaders of the Insane family such as Spanish Cobras, YLO Cobras, Ashland Vikings, C-Notes, Insane Dragons, Latin Lovers and Orquestra Albany showed up. Peace was agreed upon right away and the bitter 1990s war of the Insanes and Maniacs was finally going to end; however, not all MLDs felt like it should end. The renegade group of MLD supports led by “Little Bum” did not attend the meeting instead they drove around the meeting and set up lots of teenage soldiers outside the meeting. When peace was announced the teens began screaming out gang slogans and screaming about how they wanted no peace. The leaders of the gangs then left the meeting in a hurry because bad stuff was about to go down. One MLD leader got stranded “Carlito” as he exited the meeting alone and when he stepped out from of the YMCA Thomas “Outlaw” Ross, a member of the MLDs, gunned him down. This brought the end not only to peace talks for the warring families but also for the whole SGD/La Tabla That June day of 1999 and brought the end of the old school gang ways as we know it and the SGD (Hagedorn, The Insane Chicago Way, P. 206).
By the year 2001, the elder Cobras and MLDs couldn’t even freeze the war for the Parades and carnivals as the war had gotten that bad.