EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – Four leaders of a national criminal organization were convicted Monday for their roles in a years-long racketeering conspiracy involving drug trafficking, witness tampering, and murder.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois said the four men were members of the Gangster Disciples, with a presence across the country, including state and federal prisons.

The gang, founded in the 1960s in Chicago, utilizes what prosecutors call a structured hierarchy, with national “board members” and state “governors.” According to court documents, the four defendants killed two other gang members who opposed their efforts to ascend.

The murders occurred on April 28 and May 18, 2018.

The first murder took place in Bridgeton, Missouri. In that incident, Sean Clemon (aka “Pops”) and Dominique Maxwell (aka “Monster), acted on orders from Frank Smith (aka “Little Frank” and “Red Beard”) and killed Leroy Allen and injured two others in a shooting. Prosecutors said the shooting was part of a dispute in which Smith and another defendant, Warren Griffin (aka “Big Head” and “GG”), wanted to remove another gang member from his role as “governor” of Missouri.

Both Clemon and Maxwell were promoted to leadership roles within the hierarchy for committing the murder, with Clemon being named the new governor of Missouri and Maxwell the assistant governor.

In the second murder, Griffin drove to the south side of Chicago with board member Anthony Dobbins to kill Earnest Wilson, a former board member, because he was against them being board members in the organization. Prosecutors said Griffin lured their target outside, and Dobbins shot the victim in the back and face.

Prosecutors claim the men were also behind a stabbing at an East St. Louis nightclub and a nonfatal shooting in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Gang members also launched a scheme to smuggle the synthetic drug K2 into a Missouri state prison to create a trafficking business.

Clemon, Griffin, Maxwell, and Smith were each convicted of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering. They all face a mandatory life sentence.

Smith, Maxwell, and Clemon were also convicted of racketeering conspiracy, and gun charges related to Allen’s murder. Griffin was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and gun charges related to Wilson’s killing.

Dobbins pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy on Jan. 17, 2023.

Prosecutors have not set sentencing dates for any of the defendants.