Charges against 2 suspected members of crew linked to dozen slayings

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeHomicideAssaultDrug TraffickingMusical TheaterEdgewater

Charges were filed this morning against two surviving members of a murderous drug crew that may be responsible for more than a dozen slayings in Chicago, officials say.

Augustin Toscano, 29, and Raul Segura-Rodriguez, 36, were arrested late Saturday night after two people were stabbed to death and a pursuing police officer was shot on the Far North Side. The suspected ringleader, Arturo Ibarra, 37, was shot and killed by police during the chase, which crisscrossed the Edgewater neighborhood.

The three have been linked to as many as a dozen slayings across Chicago, according to law enforcement sources, including four men found fatally shot inside a West Lawn garage in September and three men found bound and gagged and fatally beaten in a car in the McKinley Park neighborhood in April.

The three worked for a roofing company on the South Side, but officials say they also peddled drugs. They would set up drug deals with buyers they knew, and when large amounts of money were involved, they would rob and kill the buyers, a police source said.

The crime spree came to a dramatic end that virtually locked down much of the Edgewater neighborhood late Saturday.

Gang crime officers were on surveillance, looking into a narcotics-related homicide, when they spotted a group of people run from an apartment building in the 5800 block of North Winthrop Avenue at about 5:30 p.m. just as a call of "shots fired" was heard on the police radio, officials said.

Police discovered two victims with their throats slit inside the apartment and a third man was critically injured.

Authorities today identified one of the slain men as Joel Diaz, 33, whose last known address was listed in the 5700 block of North Ridge Avenue. He had a felony drug conviction in 2006, according to court records.

The second homicide victim remained unidentified.

Ibarra, Toscano and Segura-Rodriquez fled in a dark pickup truck, racing north and ramming a squad car. The suspects fired at police and shot one officer — a 12-year veteran cop — in the leg near the intersection of Broadway and Thorndale Avenue.

The three men continued to fire at police until officers stopped the truck, returning fire and killing Ibarra and arresting the two others near the intersection of Devon and Greenview avenues, police said.  Ibarra died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Toscano and Segura-Rodriguez were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of home invasion with a firearm and aggravated fleeing with bodily injury.

Toscano also was charged with aggravated battery to a peace officer. During the chase a 12-year veteran police officer was shot in the leg near the intersection of Broadway and Thorndale Avenue.

"This is a crew of individuals we've been looking for some time," Nick Roti, chief of the police department's organized crime division, said Sunday.

Ibarra had a history of large-scale drug deals and evading law enforcement, court documents show.

In December 2002, Ibarra pleaded guilty to a federal indictment after he was discovered with about 1,950 grams of cocaine in his car. He also allegedly drove his car at a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was trying to detain him.

In state court, Ibarra — who sometimes used the alias surname Barragan — also pleaded guilty to a drug charge and was sentenced to two years in prison. A person who answered the phone at Ibarra's home declined to comment.

-- Tribune reporters Annie Sweeney and Andy Grimm contributed to this report

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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