Offences & Incarcerations
At the age of 12, Larry Hoover’s criminal activities began. He clubbed with local friends who called themselves ‘Supreme Gangsters’ and engaged in petty crimes such as theft and mugging.
When ‘Supreme Gangsters’ grew in size, Hoover emerged as its natural leader. As a kingpin, Hoover merged his gang ‘Supreme Gangsters’ with a rival gang led by David Barksdale. Together, they became the Black Gangster Disciple Nation. Their illicit activities also intensified as they engaged themselves in shooting and assault.
In 1969, after Barksdale was wounded in a shooting, Hoover took charge of the Gangster Disciples. The gang assumed control of the South Side drug trade, making more than $1,000 a day in profits.
By the time Hoover reached his early 20s, he had been convicted of several offences. What’s more, he had been in and out of prison several times and had survived six separate shooting attempts on his life.
He was quite academically inclined for a criminal. Despite being a grade school dropout, Hoover earned his GED and an emergency medical technician’s license while incarcerated.
It was on the fateful evening of February 26, 1973 that Hoover ordered the killing of William ‘Pooky’ Young, a 19-year old neighborhood youth who was charged with stealing money and drugs from the gang. Gangster Disciple member Andrew Howard who followed the order abducted Young and later shot him to death in an alley near 68th Street and Union Avenue in Chicago's Englewood neighbourhood.
Following the death of Young, Hoover and Howard were both accused of the murder and were arrested on March 16, 1973. Sentenced to 150 to 200 years, both were imprisoned. Hoover was sent to maximum-security Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois, to serve his term.
Despite being incarcerated for life, Hoover did not shy away from his illicit activities and in fact became the prime mover behind the Black Gangster Disciple Nation, which later became Gangster Disciple following the death of Barksdale in 1974 due to kidney failure.
From the prison, Hoover continued to hold the reins of the gang’s drug trade in the South. He also held the full control of drug dealing near Chicago's West Side and later extending it throughout the United States. He also helped form Folks Nation, which added other gangs such as Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, La Raza, Maniac Latin Disciples, and Spanish Gangster Disciples into its kitty.
At Stateville, Hoover’s power grew exponentially. He began protecting other inmates, who in turn became devotees and new recruits for the Gangster Disciples. Such was his influence that even the warden’s officer recognized Hoover’s control over the other prisoners. In fact, Hoover was looked upon as a positive influence to quell riots and uprisings within the prison system.
By the early 1990s, Larry Hoover claimed to have renounced his violent criminal past and became an urban political celebrity in Chicago. His criminal gang GD earned fans in the community by holding charity events and peaceful protests. Things upturned when Hoover claimed that the GD gang now meant ‘Growth & Development’.
On the upfront, Hoover took a complete round about. He set up a non-profit organization that registered voters, started a music label that helped needy children, and organized a series of peaceful protests to fight the closing of public programs. Though prison officials knew that this sugar-coated sweetness was a ploy to get out of prison and resume illegal activities, people outside genuinely considered him their savoir and lobbied to get him paroled for his contributions to society.
However, under the veil of ‘Growth & Development’, GD continued its immoral activities. An investigation led to the finding that Hoover's gang allegedly had 30,000 ‘soldiers’ in 35 states and was making $100 million a year. Furthermore, informants revealed that Hoover's nonprofit organizations were actually fronts for laundering drug money. In fact, none of the proceeds for any of the so-called charities actually went to helping anyone in need. The results from the investigation earned Hoover yet another life imprisonment in 1995.
Following years of undercover investigations by the federal government, Hoover, on August 31, 1995, was indicted for drug conspiracy, extortion, and continuing to engage in a criminal enterprise. He was arrested at the Vienna Correctional Center by federal agents, and moved to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago to stand trial.
In 1997, Larry Hoover was found guilty on all charges, and sentenced to six life sentences. He is currently serving his life imprisonment at the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado. At Colorado, Hoover is considered an old-school hero of the gangster community. Such has been the makeover of his gang GD that people now claim him to be a victim of political forces, guilty only of being black and in the wrong business.