|Founded||Founded in 1966 by Albert Hernandez in or near West Town West Town: East Humboldt Park|
Founded in the East Humboldt Park section of West Town neighborhood near Rockwell and Potomac
|Formerly known as||
Disciples 1966-1970; Latin Disciples 1970-1992
|Colors||Black and Light blue|
|Primary ethnicities||Latino (Puerto Rican)|
|Symbols||Monk, Swastika, Heart, Devil Horns, and Devil Tail|
Pitchfork 1974-present, monk, swastika, heart with devil horns and tail 1974-present
I now have the correct early history on the MLDs, there was a big version recently posted but now I have been contacted with the real story from an extremely reliable source. I was correct about the Gang Land episode “Maniacal” being way off about MLD early history but I was also wrong with my “Fast Eddie” story.
In the year 1966 young 12 year old Albert Hernandez started his own club/baseball team called the “Disciples.” The Disciples had nothing to do with the Latin Scorpions gang like most internet sources say.
The Disciples were a party crew of kids that got together and had a good time then played some baseball, they also liked to help out the community at Rockwell and Potomac in the East Humboldt Park neighborhood. The Disciples treated many people in the community with respect and would even stick up for people that were being bullied by neighborhood gangs, this lead to conflicts with Latin Kings, Warlords and Spanish Lords, not white gangs like Gang Land says, especially not Gaylords and Harrison Gents that were never in East Humboldt Park. The Disciples hung out with the Milwaukee Kings as their closest allies and the two clubs partied together.
During the ferocious blizzard of 1967, the Disciples volunteered to shovel snow for people in the community, this got Albert Hernandez and his 11 other Disciples pictured in the Chicago Daily News news paper in 1967 which is the photo that was used for the History Channel’s Gang Land show, it is surprising that Hernandez was almost 13 years old in that photo.
In the year 1968, Hernandez changed the name of the club to the “Latin Disciples;” however, the club was not just for Latinos, as all races around the neighborhood were always allowed to join. There were Puerto Rican members, Mexican members, Polish members even African American members, the club was for all right from the start, and that was one of the reason the Latin Disciples continued to grow at Rockwell and Potomac.
On the day of January 18, 1972, Albert Hernandez was out at Rockwell and Potomac as usual when Latin King gang members came into the neighborhood and were harassing one of the Polish members of the LDs, Hernandez was doing what he did best in sticking up for others and this is what led to those Latin Kings pulling a knife and stabbing him to death. Albert Hernandez was killed a few months before turning 18. He left a legacy that was heavily admired but his legacy was also turned into more than it really was. Albert Hernandez was born on April 5, 1954 and died on January 18, 1972.
Hernandez was said to be a big reader of Adolf Hitler because he admired the dictator’s play for power, in reality there was no known interest the Hernandez had in the Socialist Dictator, this story may have been spun after his death to make him look like a ruler of the Disciples.
The title of “King” was said to be what Hernandez wanted to call himself; however, when he was alive, the title of “King” did not exist within the Latin Disciples, that title was given to Hernandez after his death and he was known as “King Hitler.” This also plays into the legends that Hernandez was a drug dealer and had his Disciples selling lots of drugs while Hernandez took a taxed amount from each member, the truth is Hernandez was not even a dealer, and the Disciples did not even start dealing drugs in high volume until years after his death. Hernandez did not even open any new territory during his years, Rockwell and Potomac was all there was between 1966 and 1972, and there was no Hirsh and Rockwell and no Latin Scorpions mixed in with MLD history. Many of the original Disciples left the gang after Hernandez was killed, and especially the vast majority were long gone by the late 1970s when the drug game became huge.
Members of the Latin Disciples and Milwaukee Kings got revenge for the killing of Hernandez, even though there was no arrests made for the Hernandez murder, the streets knew which Latin King did it and revenge was given to that Latin King that was found dead later, there were no known arrests for that murder either.
The Latin Disciples were infuriated over the death of Hernandez and it was the first time they would suffer the death of a leader. The Latin Disciples then launched a full scale war on the Latin Kings led by their new leader “Prince Diablo.” Out of respect for Hitler the title “King” died along with Hernandez and at that point forward the new title would be “Prince,” and Prince Diablo was the first to carry this title until the late 1970s.
After Albert Hernandez passed away the Latin Disciples colonized the West Humboldt Park neighborhood where they conflicted more with Latin Kings and Simon City Royals in that area.
In the year 1973, Pete “The Burner” Correa was arrested and supposedly thrown from the police station window. In his trial he cussed out the judge and said he was a “maniac;” therefore, since 1973 the “maniac” part of the name was born and Maniac concepts were created. The Latin Disciples now had structure under Maniac as members would start out as Pee Wee Latin Disciples, then become Young Latin Disciples. Next they would become Young Future Latin Disciples, then after that it was Future Latin Disciples. The final title was to become a “Maniac” and they would then be “Maniac Latin Disciples.”
While Rios was incarcerated he reached out to the Black Gangsters Disciples at this point in time and asked to be unified with the BGDs while incarcerated in Stateville Correctional Facility in Crest Hill Illinois. The Leader of the Black Gangsters Disciples Larry Hoover had just entered this correction facility in November of 1973 after he was convicted of a murder. Hoover had always been a strong advocate of working with gangs of another race, in fact, the Black Gangsters Disciples worked with a few allies in the fall of 1973 while Hoover was on trial to deal with one of their biggest enemies the Conservative Vice Lords. The BGDs had reached out to Ambrose, Ashland Vikings and Simon City Royals for aide in dealing with Vice Lords; therefore, Hoover got a taste of getting assistance with white and Latino gangs before he went to the joint. He saw a unity with the Latin Disciples as an opportunity for a new business development.
Rudy Rios then united the Latin Disciples with the Black Gangsters Disciples in a unity that was known as the “Spanish Gangsters Disciples.” Latin Disciples that would end up in prison between 1974 and 1978 would become Spanish Gangster Disciples. This unity also brought about business deals in the streets between BGDs and Latin Disciples.
In 1976, the Latin Disciples and Spanish Cobras formed an alliance called “Young Latino Organization” or “YLO.” Then in 1978 the unity was expanded to the Imperial Gangsters and Latin Eagles to form the “United Latino Organization” or “ULO” that reached other various clubs that hung out with them like Orquestra Albany.
The ULO unity would be taken a step further on November 11, 1978 when Larry Hoover sat down with the leaders of both allied gangs and enemy gangs in Pontiac Correctional Facility (he was transferred here that same year) and created the Folk Nation alliance while his enemies created the People Nation alliance right then and there. It was at this meeting where the Latin Disciples joined the Folk Nation which brought them even closer to the Black Gangsters Disciples. Out of this Folk Nation unity was the “Latin Familia” or “Latin Family” which was a unity of Folks that would work to strengthen the Latino gangs involved in it such as the Latin Disciples, Spanish Cobras, Satan Disciples, Imperial Gangsters, Latin Eagles, Ashland Vikings, Orquestra Albany, Ambrose and Two Six. This would end up helping the Latin Disciples to expand their drug empire especially now that they could walk the streets united with Simon City Royals, Spanish Cobras and Imperial Gangsters.
Months before the Folk nation was created Prince Diablo was no longer in charge and Ramon Prince Chi Chi” Vasquez took over leadership on the nation. Chi Chi was quite young only being 16 or 17 years old at the time but it was felt this young Prince had what it took to run the nation.
Shortly after Chi Chi took over some Puerto Rican youths were being bullied in the Logan Square community by Gaylords, Simon City Royals and Latin Kings, but there biggest issue was with the Simon City Royals from Christiana and Wellington. Simon City Royals would attack these youths and beat them up while they tried to go to school just because they were Puerto Rican. One of youths that was bullied was “Karate Chino” who was a tough street warrior along with these other youths, the problem was they were outnumbered. These youths reached out to Prince Chi Chi and all of Rockwell and Potomac and asked to become a part of the Latin Disciples as a new section. Prince Chi Chi gave his blessing and the Logan Square MLDs were born at Kedzie and Barry in 1978. Kedzie and Barry would go on to become a legendary section with some of the toughest MLDs.
Shortly after Kedzie and Barry was established Prince Chi Chi was shot and killed by a member of the Insane Unknowns named Miguel Vargas in 1978 who was arrested for the crime and tried in juvenile court. The Disciples were infuriated over this murder and were now in a full scale war with the Insane Unknowns. At this point in time 23 year old Jose “Prince Freckles” Cedeno took over as the new Prince of the Latin Disciples in 1978 and by 1979 he was running a major drug ring at Rockwell and Potomac thanks to the connections of Latin Disciple Hugo “Juice” Herrera who had ties to the notorious Herrera family drug cartel, which eventually brought Police attention by October of 1979 (Southern Illinoisian P 22, July 17 1980). Juice was a Latin Disciple from Kedzie and Barry so the real connection came from the Logan Square section and not from Rockwell and Potomac even though the operation took place at the Twilight Zone.
In the year 1979, Spanish Cobras and Latin Disciples both agreed to create a divide on the streets that categorized “Maniacs” and “Insanes.” All the closet allies with Spanish Cobras would be known as Insanes, while the closest allies with Latin Disciples became Maniacs. This divide was non-violent and the ULO/YLO alliance remained in tact, this was just a way to create two families and to make Maniac more official. Latin Disciples had been calling themselves Maniac since 1973 but now in 1979 allies would be known as Maniacs as well. Allies such as: Milwaukee Kings, Latin Jivers, Latin Lovers and Latin Stylers.
By mid-July 1980 the DEA and the Chicago Police’s Organized Crime Unit closed in on the drug operation that originally started at just Rockwell and Potomac but soon spread to four other locations on the north side and northwest side. 46 people were arrested instantly in this drug bust, mostly Latin Disciples and the police were out to snag 17 others. The police said in a statement to the press that you could buy any drug you wanted at Rockwell and Potomac and cars were literally lined up waiting to get their drugs (Southern Illinoisian P 22, July 17 1980).
1 year earlier on the 4th of July 1979 Cedena was arrested for running a drug ring at the same corner of Rockwell and Potomac along with two other street corners Washtenaw and Hirsch and at Evergreen and Wastenaw in cooperation with the Spanish Cobras. 18 members of both gangs were arrested but they got away with it as “Prince Freckles” was able to restart up his operation months later, once again based on Rockwell and Potomac, but in 1980 he was actually convicted (Chicago Tribune, July 5, 1979 Page 3). This showed now the Latin Disciples were heavily in the drug business, Freckles was the one that started the Latin Disciples on a path of highly complex drug operations and made the Latin Disciples regard Rockwell and Potomac even more as a sacred corner.
After Cedeno was put away in prison, a new leader emerged to take control of the Latin Disciples. This would be 19 year old Fernando “Prince Fernie” Zayas. Zayas would continue on where Cedeno left off expanding the empire and bringing in drug profits. On July 2, 1983 Prince Fernie wanted to let the Insane Unknowns know that he did not forget about Ramon Prince Chi Chi Vasquez. Zayas even had a tattoo on his left hand that says “Chi Chi rest in peace.”
On Friday night July 1, 1983 Zayas and his friends were partying it up when word was that Miguel Vargas was in the area hanging out with his friends out on the porch watching T.V. after 1 A.M. that night. Zayas hated Vargas because back in 1978 Vargas, then 15 years old, shot and killed Prince Chi Chi. In 1979 Vargas pleaded guilty to the murder in juvenile court; however, he was back on the streets by 1983 and Zayas was gunning for him to avenge Chi Chi. On that Friday night/Saturday morning Zayas and Jose “Baby” Rodriguez and two others took a car from Juanita Rodriguez without her knowing. The car pulled up to the apartments at 1438 west Catalpa in the Andersonville section of the Edgewater neighborhood where Vargas was with his two friends Ruben Gutierrez, 20 years old, and Luis Cuaresma, 17 years old were watching the outdoor T.V. on the first floor and conversing. Zayas and one other Latin Disciple got out of the car and fired several shots at the three on the porch. The main target Miguel Vargas was killed at the scene along with one other and the third died at a nearby hospital. Zayas and the MLDs got their revenge for the killing and celebrated later that night (People V. Zayas 1989) (Chicago Tribune July 3, 1983, page 3). At first, the Latin Disciples got away with the killing until later that month witnesses started coming forward and saying they either saw Zayas do the killing or they heard him brag about it which all led to Zayas getting arrested by August and got him convicted of murder and sentenced to two life sentences which he is still serving.
Incarceration did not stop “Prince Fernie” from running the Latin Disciples, he was still the Prince of the nation and for the first time, the Latin Disciples on the street were being controlled by an imprisoned leader. As the 1980s progressed the Latin Disciples grew in size into the hundreds in gang membership. Latin Disciples also spread their influence outside of East and West Humboldt Park opening territory in Bucktown, Hermosa, North Center, southern West Town, Belmont – Cragin, West Ridge (Rosemont and California), Near West Side (Tri Taylor area, Taylor and Oakley), Gage Park (south side), Irving Park and Avondale. These additional territories would open all throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. The strongest sections would still be Rockwell and Potomac and Talman and Wabansia.
Starting in 1989, the Latin Disciples joined the SGD (Spanish Growth And Development) Coalition or “La Tabla” in prison, which was an attempt to organize the Latin Folks gangs by creating an organized council within the Folk nation that would keep any brewing interalliance wars from popping off.
The Latin Disciples were one of the main gangs at the top seat of the council alongside their biggest allies the Spanish Cobras. The SGD basically gave complete power to Latino and white gangs to govern themselves without the African American Folk Nation gangs intervening. Instead of being a positive thing for the Latin Folks, SGD ended up having a reverse effect. The Latin Disciples were at the head of the La Tabla; therefore, they were one of the main decision making organizations if disputes were brought before La Tabla. When conflicts arose and were taken before La Tabla and MLDs made a decision on it allies would often complain the decision was unfair and felt the Disciples were biased because of their position, Spanish Cobras were especially vocal about this. On the streets tensions began to spark between Cobras and Disciples and some minor incidences of violence would pop off between Maniacs and Insanes over the next two years but the issues would always get smoothed over within a short period of time, but it was the beginning of harsh conflicts yet to come.
By 1991, tensions between Maniacs, Insanes and Almighties heated up as more incidences of violence popped off towards each other on the streets. These incidents increased in intensity, frequency and duration, however, the majority of the time there was still peace established but hard feelings were beginning to develop. Some of the disputes were over drug territory.
In the year 1992, The problems between Almighties, Maniacs and Insanes escalated further and the violence was more intense than ever. The alliance become fully severed to the point that the Spanish Cobras dropped the pitchfork from their literature and only spoke of “Insane” concepts only. The Latin Disciples now made “Maniac” the total way and members could no longer tag or represent “Latin Disciple,” they were now exclusively “Maniac Latin Disciples.” This also meant new laws were put on the rest of the Maniacs, they now had to represent “Maniac” before their own names. Before 1992, being a Maniac Latin Disciple was more of a title for older members and was the rank but now Maniac was fully part of the name for the whole nation even the younger members.
Things heated up for the worse in February of 1994 when the Spanish Cobras killed a MLD named Nelson “Wolfie” Vargas. Nobody was convicted of the murder but the MLDs blamed the Cobras. Now fast forward to the year 1996. At the intersection of Talman and Wabansia “Real Side,” Enrique “Prince Rick Dog” Garcia and his second in command, 26 year old Johnny “Don Loco” Almodover were successfully moving record high profits of drugs on this corner, in fact, it began to surpass the operations at Rockwell and Potomac that was being commanded by the “Bum Brothers,” mainly Jaime “Tuffy Bum” Ruiz. Tuffy Bum asked the street Prince Rick Dog for a larger cut of the profits at the Real Side but he was turned down. The Bum Brothers became very jealous of Rick Dog’s operations and they felt cheated by their boss. The Bums began to conspire in secret against Rick Dog and they knew the prison leader and the head of La Tabla, Fernando Zayas would not approve of the removal of Rick Dog, in fact, he supported Rick Dog and put him in power as the street leader in the first place. The Bums then began to supply Zayas with all the drugs he needed to get high on while behind bars. Zayas had become addicted to drugs and the Bums made it worse. It was then called out that Zayas was an addict and not fit to run the nation; therefore, he was expelled from leadership and kicked off La Tabla. He would later renounce his membership in MLD. The Bums secretly and successfully removed Zayas now their next step was removal of Rick Dog. The Bum Brothers then added fuel to the Cobra/Disciple fire by going out and causing more trouble with Spanish Cobras making them mad and this led to an incident on February 7, 1996 (Hagedorn, The Insane Chicago Way, P. 202 and 203). On that day at the street corner of Keystone and Armitage the Spanish Cobras opened fire at a Maniac Latin Disciple named Angel “Hi Lo” Alamo and shot him through his right cheek in his face and he was able to spit the bullet out. This shooting angered the MLDs and now a call to action was needed for this, mainly the pressure came from the Twilight Zone as the Bums put heavy pressure on Rick Dog to respond to the attack they secretly started. Talman and Wabansia was being feuded over by both Cobras and MLDs because on this street corner lots of money was to be made from drug sales and both gangs were frothing at the mouth. At that current point in time the MLDs were running that street corner and were not going to let Cobras get in the way of success. On this day “Don Loco” held a meeting with his fellow MLDs to get revenge for the killing of “Wolfie” and the shooting of “Hi Lo” and also to show the Spanish Cobras not to touch Talman and Wabansia. The MLDs met at a house at Thomas and Washtenaw “Murdertown” to discuss a later meeting on Tuesday Feb 13th once again at Talman and Wabansia on exactly how they were going to get revenge. The meeting was to be attended by about 30 top “Governors” of the gang. The meeting was said to be so mandatory that if you missed it you would get a severe beating and you could not even get a pass from it even if your significant other was going to have your baby that day. At that meeting Almodover said he wanted to “Take it to the Cobras” and wanted every Cobra dead. He set up 3 teams of assassins that he handpicked as ones that he thought were potential killers and the others he waved off and told them to stay inside and out of the way. The guns were brought out, an AK-47, a .380 and a .45 caliber pistol. The shooters were instructed to dress in all black with black pants, black hoodies and black ski masks. Don Loco also called for “Dome shots” meaning shoot the Cobras in the head only, by any means necessary. Don Loco also ordered the shootings to happen at around 5 P.M. that evening when dusk was settling in and witnesses would have a hard time seeing the shooting or Cobras would have a hard time seeing the shooters coming. This was also a shift change for the closest East Humboldt Park Chicago Police and also it was rush hour so traffic would slow down police and ambulance response times. It was a carefully devised plan and it started on the street corner of Cortland and Mozart when team 1 struck with the AK-47 and shot at three Cobras hitting one of them in the hip and another in the neck but both survived. Evergreen and Washtenaw was next when team 2 attacked which consisted of a MLD top enforcer who emerged from an alleyway and put a 16 year old Cobra in a head lock after he shot the Cobra as he tried to flee and told him he was going to die then shot him twice in the top of the head which left the young Cobra blind for the rest of his life. Team 3 struck at Bosworth and Lemoyne and wounded another Cobra but once again no one was killed (Chicago Tribune August 29, 1996).
At Maplewood and Hirsch the Cobras struck back and shot a lady MLD in the back, but she survived. Then a little while later Cobras opened fire again at MLDs again and shot a MLD in the neck at Rockwell and Cortez. It took a few days for word to get back to “Don Loco” and the rest of the MLDN that not a single Cobra was killed. To make it worse Almodover was arrested and later convicted and given a heavy sentence of a minimum of 45 years in prison which he is still serving time for.
More problems would come for the MLDs when a faction of the gang known as “The Bums” headed by Jaime “Tuffy” Ruiz would gear toward a complete takeover of the organization and Enrique “Rick Dog” Garcia stood in their way. The Bums consisted not only of “Tuffy” but also old schooler Jose “Baby” Rodriguez who was the same “Baby” that helped Fernando “Prince Fernie” Zayas gun down Insane Unknowns in Andersonville in 1983, “Baby” got out of prison around this time after doing time for that shooting. Other members were “Bum,” David “little Bum” Hernandez, “Dusty,” “Waldy,” “Fidel,” and “Bajia.”
Jamie “Tuffy Bums” Ruiz ordered the death of “Rick Dog” on April the 3rd 1996. Garcia was shot dead in the driver seat of his car when gunman pulled up and shot him dead. It was the first time an MLD Prince had been killed by fellow gang members. There were over 1,000 attendees at Garcia’s funeral. Light blue and black flowers shaped into a pitchfork were used at the service and gang members tossed several guns into Garcia’s casket as it lowered into the ground (Hagedorn, The Insane Chicago Way, P. 203). With Garcia dead and Loco locked up, Francisco “Pimp Daddy” Garcia took over control the Maniac Latin Disciples, at least the side that opposed the Bums.
Shortly after the killing of Enrique Garcia, Pimp Daddy’s supporters shot and killed Ruiz for killing Garcia. The “Bums” were then infuriated over the death of Ruiz and a civil war broke out within the MLDN between the Talman and Wabansia MLDs and the Rockwell and Potomac MLDs.
The “Bums” felt justified with killing Rick Dog because they felt he allowed Don Loco to recklessly carry out the shootings on Feb 13 of the Spanish Cobras that did not even result in a single Cobra getting killed, this is the pitch they delivered to get their supporters fired up to support the civil war. The Garcia supporters, on the other hand, viewed this as a treasonous act and wanted vengeance for this. After Tuffy Bum was killed Little Bum took over leadership and guided the Twilight Zone branch into the war.
The war within the MLDs was rough for both sides of MLDs and many soldiers were killed during this war. One killing that caused a lot of pain was the shooting death of two brothers Papote and Ears from Rockwell and Potomac that were both shot together and double funeral needed to be held. Papote and Ears were loved deeply by the MLDs and their families so these deaths caused fury. Both men were shot and killed on August 9, 1996.
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, Insane Deuces, 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 supporters 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 leader got stranded, “Carlito,” as he exited the meeting alone and when he stepped out front 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 brought the end of the old school gang ways as we know it (Hagedorn, The Insane Chicago Way, P. 206).
The MLDs would end up losing several sections going into the 21st century mainly due to gentrification of hipsters and yuppies in Wicker Park, Logan Square and East Humboldt Park. The gang is still the second or third largest Latino gang in the city numbering thousands of members. It is also clear that MLDs have always operated with the same principles that were passed down from Hilter to rule as kings and tax all others involved in the drug trade and this has led to more wars for the MLDs to fight, regardless, the MLDs have proven they can dominate with having little to no allies on the streets.
Please send in old school pics. 1960s pics will be especially appreciated!
What happened to Prince Diablo?