Illinois Bomb Squad gang members convicted of racketeering

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Thirteen members of the Bomb Squad street gang are facing the possibility of decades in prison after jurors in central Illinois convicted them of a racketeering conspiracy that included murders, arson and drug trafficking.

Prosecution filings say the gang based on the south side of Peoria had standing orders for members to shoot rivals on sight, and they would later brag about the attacks on social media.

The federal jury in Peoria returned their verdicts Tuesday afternoon after three days of deliberations on seven weeks of testimony that included gang members-turned-government witnesses telling how the gang used violence to expand its criminal enterprise. The gang was formed in 2009.

Concerned about outbursts and intimidation in court, U.S. District Judge James Shadid ordered that only one gang member could be in court at a time as the verdicts against each of them were read, Peoria's Journal Star reported.

The 13 defendants ranged in age from 20 to 29. Racketeering conspiracy carries up to 20 years in prison, though at least one of the gang members could be sentenced to life behind bars because jurors tied him to specific killings.

Sentencing is expected to take place in June, according to a press release from the U.S. attorney's office in Springfield.