Larry Hoover founded the Gangster Disciples street gang in Chicago during the 1960s.
Born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1950, Larry Hoover moved to Chicago as a child. He became involved in gang activity at a young age and quickly rose through the ranks of the city’s street gangs.
In addition to his involvement in organized crime, Larry Hoover was also involved in efforts to promote black nationalism and unity. He founded the Gangster Disciples as a way to provide a sense of community and empowerment for African Americans who were marginalized and oppressed.
Under Hoover’s leadership, the Black Gangster Disciple Nation took over a majority of the Chicago drug trade.
While incarcerated, Hoover formed the Folk Nation, which included all gangs that shared his personal interests and likeliness, such as the Lady, Satan, Maniac Latin, Spanish Gangster Disciples, Ambrose, the Two-Two Boys, Two Sixers, Simon City Royals, North Side Insane Popes, La Raza Nation, Spanish Cobras, Imperial Gangsters, Harrison Gents, and the Latin Eagles.
The Folk Nation maintained their ground from within prison property to drug-ruffled streets. While Hoover was incarcerated, he ran the gang’s illicit drug trade both in prison and on the streets, starting from Chicago’s West Side and later extending throughout the United States.
Larry Hoover also engaged in a city rivalry with South Memphis crew, the Love Murdering Gangsters (formerly LMG Mafia). In 1989, the Black Gangster Disciples began having leadership problems, resulting in the two gangs separating into the aforementioned Gangster Disciples and the reincarnated Black Disciples.
Larry Hoover was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 200 years for a 1973 murder, and then, received another life term in 1997 after a 17-year investigation. He was convicted of conspiracy, extortion, money laundering, and running a continuing criminal enterprise from state prison.
In 1995 Larry Hoover was also charged with conspiracy, extortion, money laundering, and drug-related offenses, following a 17-year undercover joint investigation by the Illinois Department of Corrections, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Prosecutors alleged that his gang had 30,000 “soldiers” in 35 states and made $100 million a year.
He was found guilty on all charges in 1997, and he was sentenced to three additional life terms in federal prison. He is currently serving his sentence at the ADX Florence in Fremont County, Colorado, which is a maximum-security prison for male inmates.
Larry Hoover has made multiple attempts to have his sentence shortened but has been denied. In 2021, he tried to appeal his sentence but his appeal was also denied.
In recent years, Larry Hoover claims to have renounced his violent criminal past and no longer affiliates with the Gangster Disciples, stating that he is “no longer the Larry Hoover people sometimes talk about, or he who is written about in the papers, or the crime figure described by the government.”
Despite his claims, many remain skeptical of Hoover’s motives and believe that his statements may be a ruse to have his sentence reduced or appealed.
Nevertheless, Larry Hoover remains one of the most prominent figures in the history of Black organised crime.
Larry Hoover is currently serving six life sentences at the ADX Florence prison facility in Colorado.