13 Illinois 'Bomb Squad' gang members sentenced to prison

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Thirteen members of a Peoria street gang known as the “Bomb Squad” have been sentenced to prison terms for a racketeering conspiracy that included murder, attempted murder, arson and drug trafficking.

Federal prosecutors said one defendant was sentenced to life in prison, plus 10 years. Judge James Shadid sentenced the other defendants to prison terms ranging from 12 to 40 years over two weeks last month.

A jury convicted the defendants in December after a seven-week trial and three days of deliberations. Prosecutors said gang members had standing orders to shoot rivals on sight, and they would later boast about their actions on social media. They said the group committed four murders, over 20 shootings and two residential arsons.

Two innocent bystanders were shot in the crossfire, including an 11-year-old girl hit by a bullet that passed through a home where she slept, and a Bradley University student who was killed when a bullet passed through a gang member's head and killed her.

“These sentences are appropriate and should send a message to others that violent, lawless behavior will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney John Milhiser.

All 13 defendants have been in federal custody since they were indicted by a grand jury in June 2018.