U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois
(312) 353-5300
April 29, 2015

Black Disciples Gang Leader Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Drug Distribution

CHICAGO—A high-ranking leader of the Black Disciples street gang was sentenced today to 15 years in federal prison after being convicted of narcotics distribution. The defendant, WALTER BLACKMAN, 52, of Gary, Indiana, pleaded guilty in August 2014 to distribution of illegal narcotics. Today’s sentence was imposed by United States District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang. Blackman has been in federal custody since his arrest in April 2013. He must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

Blackman was a high-ranking leader of the Black Disciples street gang in Chicago. He distributed drugs—including crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and heroin—and controlled the Black Disciples gang members’ drug trafficking in the city of Chicago’s far south side, including the violence-plagued Roseland and Altgeld Gardens communities. According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, Blackman admitted that he had approximately 500 subordinate gang members underneath his control in his territory in “the hundreds,” being part of the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago named for the three-digit streets.

Blackman’s charges in this case, namely sixteen counts of drug distribution, are a small sample of his larger drug trafficking operation in and outside the Black Disciples street gang—an operation that encompassed multiple drug types, multiple years, and multiple states. The defendant was a repeat and large scale supplier of controlled substances, selling and distributing crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and heroin in the Chicago area and elsewhere, including Wisconsin, to numerous wholesale customers.

The Court held Blackman responsible for distributing approximately 4,000 grams of crack cocaine, 1,000 grams of powder cocaine, and approximately 390 grams of heroin. Blackman also possessed firearms during his drug trafficking activities.

“This sentence holds the defendant accountable for the narcotics enterprise he controlled, and for his role in the accompanying gang and gun violence that harms our communities,” said Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. “I want to thank our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners for their brave and outstanding work which has resulted in a major impact on this street gang’s narcotics operation and illegal activities,” Mr. Fardon added.

The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Chicago Police Department’s Gang Investigations Division also had significant roles in the investigation, which was conducted through the federal High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Omaha offices of the FBI also assisted with the investigation.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carol A. Bell and Sarah Streicker.

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