United States v. Pagan, No. 16-1496 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The Imperial Insane Vice Lords (Double-Is) street gang controlled the “Keystone Drug Market” in Chicago. Pagan and Hawthorne were members and began selling narcotics in 2000 and 2005, respectively. Brown a member of the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, purchased narcotics from the Double-Is and sold them on Keystone Avenue beginning in 2007; he was eventually required to pay a “tax,” in money or drugs, to sell drugs on Keystone Avenue. A police investigation, involving wiretaps and controlled purchases of narcotics, led to the indictment of 24 individuals in 2013. The indictment charged Brown, Hawthorne, and Pagan with various counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, heroin, cocaine base, and marijuana, 21 U.S.C. 846; distributing narcotics, section 841(a)(1); and being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). Brown pleaded guilty to the distribution charges. A jury convicted Hawthorne and Pagan of their possession and distribution charges and convicted all three of the conspiracy charge. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the convictions, rejecting challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence, to a jury instruction concerning the term “street tax,” and alleging a Brady violation. The court vacated Pagan’s sentence.