CHICAGO (WLS) -- Federal law enforcement officials say they are charging five Chicago street gang operatives with racketeering in the 2020 Oak Street hit on Carlton Weekly, a popular rapper known as FBG Duck, who was said to have been shopping for a birthday present for his son when he was cut down in a mob-style attack.
Now, the feds are using a law first aimed at mobsters to prosecute the five.
On Aug. 4, 2020 it looked like an old-time Outfit attack on Chicago's Oak Street: two attack cars, four shooters and a hail of bullets. But, the target wasn't a 1930s gangster. He was a new millennium rapper: FBG Duck. Investigators and city officials say he was a gang member whose videos had irked members of a rival gang. Five of the alleged rival gang members stand charged with his killing under the RICO statute: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. In 1970, that law was created to help dismantle traditional organized crime.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois said the five suspects are members of the O-Block street gang.
"The reason that this is charged federally is that we were able to establish evidence that there was a racketeering enterprise here that was involved and this murder was done in furtherance of that," said Northern District of Illinois U.S. Attorney John Lausch.
The suspects who have been charged with committing murder in aid of racketeering are:
- Marcus Smart, 22
-Charles Liggines, 30
-Kenneth Robertson, 28
-Tacarlos Offered, 30
-Christopher Thomas, 22
The indictment also includes charges for firearm violations and assaults in the aid of racketeering.
Liggins, Offerd, Thomas and Smart were each arrested Wednesday morning and appeared in court Wednesday afternoon. Officials said three of the suspects were taken into custody near 63rd Street and King Drive. A fourth suspect was located elsewhere while a fifth person was picked up by state authorities. The operation was the result of a collaboration between federal, state, county and local law enforcement. If convicted, the suspects could face a minimum sentence of life in federal prison.
Carlton Weekly's mother had an emotional reaction to the arrests, saying justice has been done.
"When you just trust in God and and be patient, everything falls in place," the mother said.
Authorities say the group committed the murder to increase the position of the O-Block street gang. Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said he's serious about going after gangs.
"We are working hand in hand to stop the flow of drugs and guns," Brown said. "We are going after gangs in this city. This includes gang investigations, narcotics investigations and gun investigations. We are working together to hold gang members accountable for violence."
Emmerson Buie, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago field office, added, "we defend those who can't defend themselves and this should send a strong message."
Chicago criminal defense attorney Tony Thedford spoke about social media, calling them "very strong tools" that "are now being used by law enforcement and the government to prosecute crime." Sometimes, evidence is gathered right from social media, Thedford said.
"You have a street gang, alleged street gang that kills another gang member in a high profile case in downtown Chicago. So, my belief is that the response is the harshest response possible once they find suspects and charge them," Thedford said. "There's a lot of allegations of back and forth online or threats online.. posted back and forth that then led to retaliations, allegedly, which led to the death of this young man," Thedford said.