|Founded||Founded c. 1955 in or near Pilsen (Lower West Side)|
|Formerly known as||
Sons of Mexico City 1957-1959, Latin Counts 1959-present
2000 or later;
|Colors||Black and Red|
|Primary ethnicities||Latino (Mexican)|
|Symbols||Count Dracula, Knight's Helmet, and Cross|
Cross with 5 slashes above it 1978-present
The Latin Counts are the first Mexican street gang to form in the Pilsen neighborhood. Back in a time when the neighborhood was mostly a Czech neighborhood. In response to the issues the Mexican families faced a neighborhood club was created by the youth among this first wave of migration calling themselves the “Texans.” The Texans protected the area of 16th-17th and Loomis and their biggest enemy was an Italian greaser gang called the Taylor Street Boys.
By 1958 another group started called the Sons of Mexico City that fought for the same causes as the Texans bringing these two groups together as allies. Just like the Texans the Sons of Mexico City were proud of where they came from before they moved to Chicago.
In the year 1958 and 1959 more Mexican families began to arrive in Pilsen during a mass migration wave from the Near West Side community and directly from Mexico. Among the families from the Near West Side came members of street gangs from those communities that all wanted to claim ownership of 18th Street, including the intersection of 18th and Loomis.
In the year 1959, the Sons of Mexico City took on a new identity and new name. The new name for the organization would become the “Latin Counts.” The name and colors of black and red was taken after the “Polish Counts” street gang that operated in the Back of the Yards community. The new symbols would become a cross with slashes above it and a knight’s helmet. The knight’s helmet idea came from Knight Brand matches, a well-known match maker company that used a black and red knight’s helmet as an emblem. The cross symbol came from a nearby church in the neighborhood. The Latin Counts took in the Texans including the founder of the Texans.
In March of 1959, the Latin Counts name was documented in social service records along the Texans. In the late 1950s Latin Counts visited the Howell House at 17th and Racine to receive social services that was offered to street gangs at the time and this is how the early document surfaced.
In the year 1960, another gang moved in from the Near West Side called “Ambrose” that set up a territory at nearby 18th and Throop. The Counts being at 18th and Loomis was just a couple blocks away brought a clash between the gangs because Ambrose was the invader of the area. Ambrose became very popular just as the Latin Counts did and this heated up the rivalry more.
In 1961, as new youths wanted to join the Latin Counts, the “Junior Latin Counts” were created for the younger members to be governed on their own for the most part.
The Latin Counts would grow in the 1960s and begin conflicting with the Satan Disciples after they moved onto 18th Street in 1960. The counts also had rivalry with the Latin Kings after they moved to Coulter and Damen in 1968. Regardless of all the wars the Counts were still able to grow to conquer territory within the borders of: 16th Street on the north, Cullerton Street on the south, Racine Avenue on the east and Paulina Street on the west in Pilsen.
In the 1970s, the Latin Counts become one the bigger gangs in Pilsen and became deeper enemies with Ambrose that was the other larger gang in East Pilsen.
In the year 1970, the Bishops, Latin Brothers and Racine Boys formed on the streets of Pilsen. The Latin Counts immediately established a tight alliance with these groups especially the Bishops. The main reason for the alliance was because Bishops and Latin Counts came from the same family, also they mutually hated Latin Kings, Satan Disciples and Ambrose. The Latin Counts and Bishop alliance was called the BCN or Bishop Count Nation. Later there would be the LLBCN that included the Laflin Lovers that formed later.
The Latin Counts opened territory in 1975 in the Lawndale Gardens projects located at 25th and California in the Marshall Square neighborhood. This section would last until about 1985 as Counts here battled Latin Kings and Satan Disciples viciously.
The Latin Counts became a heavily recognized organization by 1978 and were invited to join the Nation of the Peoples alliance that was created in Pontiac prison. This alliance drew up a truce with long time enemies the Latin Kings and brought a relationship with north side gangs and black gangs. Even though the People Nation was put in place in prison it wasn’t much effective on street relations with Latin Kings until the 1980s.
Starting in the year 1980, the Latin Counts began an expansion campaign as they grew into new communities in Chicago and new suburbs in the Chicago area suburbs. The Counts opened at 25th and Western in the Heart of Chicago community, 35th and Damen area in Mckinley Park, Brighton Park at 42nd and Fairfield, 48th and Morgan in the Back of the Yards, 71st and Albany in Marquette Park and in the South Chicago and South Deering neighborhoods. The Latin Counts would especially be successful in South Chicago, South Deering and McKinley Park.
The Counts would open their largest out of state section in the city of Detroit Michigan in the 1980s that became massive by the later part of the decade, this became one of their most prominent strongholds.
In the year 1980, a member of the 18th Street Latin Counts from Pilsen moved to the intersection of 87th and Houston in the South Chicago neighborhood. A few other Latin Counts moved out there in 1983 and this began an organizing of a new section. These Counts were there when the Spanish Gangster Disciples formed near that intersection but the Counts didn’t begin a section yet when SGDs formed. The Counts out here hung out with the Latin Dragons during these years. In the year 1983, these Counts began to recruit at Bowen High School and they began congregating at 91st and Brandon and on 88th and Escanaba. Each group was small in size and didn’t really get along so they couldn’t come together as one group of Counts. It wasn’t until 1984 that the Counts began to organize a full section at 91st and Commercial which would become a major Latin Count stronghold for many years to come as they expanded into a larger area in the neighborhood as the Latin Counts conquered all down Commercial Avenue from 91st into South Deering to 103rd. Eventually the Counts here would spread into South Deering in Trumbull Park and by Veterans Memorial Park as they conquered all down Commercial Avenue.
The Counts would also expand into the suburbs beginning 1992 as they opened in the suburb of Cicero at Roosevelt and 18th and Austin down to 58th Ave in an area known as “The Red Zone” in 1992. This became the biggest suburban Latin Count section. The Counts would also migrate into West Chicago, Addison, Berwyn, Chicago Heights and Romeoville by the later 1980s until they became the second largest Hispanic People nation gang in the Chicago land area.
In the year 1990, the Latin Counts began to have severe quarrels with the Latin Kings in the city and in the suburbs of Chicago Heights and Addison. The beef between both gangs erupted in full scale war in 1991.
In the year 1992, Don Juan “Benny” Rios moved to Cicero at the age of 14 and got acquainted with the Twelfth Street Players at Roosevelt and Austin. The Twelfth Street Players then offered up territory by Parkholm Park by 18th and 51st and eventually the Counts spread to Roosevelt down 18th then down to 58th Avenue in an area known as “The Red Zone.” The Counts engaged in vicious gang wars in Cicero against the Latin Kings and all the Folk alliance gangs. in the year 1994 war began with the Twelfth Street Players as Counts became very powerful in Cicero becoming one of the dominating forces.
Latin Count territory has remained in tact in Pilsen, South Deering, Mckinley Park, South Chicago and Cicero and perhaps will never fold. Brighton Park, Back of the Yards, Marquette Park closed due to keeping focus on stronger sections. Addison, Berwyn and Romeoville sections closed due to heavy police presence in those suburbs and most other gangs were removed from those communities as well so there was no real loss.
The BCN remained strong into the 1990s until 1992 a major challenge came that would begin a disruption of the BCN. In the year 1992 as the Latin King and Latin Count war became even worse the Bishops made a very tough decision to draw a truce with the Latin Kings and no longer fight the Kings alongside the Counts, the Bishops now stayed out of the war. In the year 1995 the Bishops took their alliance with the Latin Kings further when the Latin Kings demanded the BCN be put to an end or face ending their relationship. The Bishops chose the bigger gangs and ended the BCN with the Counts, this caused animosity between Counts and Bishops; however, war did not begin yet. Tensions built especially after Counts witnessed Kings and Bishops being close. On one January day in 1996 Bishops and Counts got into a heated argument at a party. he Bishops would not calm down after the altercation and later that night one of the Bishops strolled to the outside of the Latin Count gang members’ home and shouted disrespectful things about the Latin Counts then started shooting at the house but did not hit his intended target instead he shot the gang members’ girlfriend in the chest, she died instantly. Later on that night a Latin Count named “Rhino” gunned down a Bishop named “Chuco” to avenge the death of the Counts’ girlfriend. This started a vicious war between Bishops and Counts that would live on until present day.
The Latin Counts began as a club of members that were often along the same bloodline and their family would grow to include members not of the same blood but still cherished as such. This strong brotherhood has made the Latin Counts thrive for many years as one of the oldest street gangs in Chicago history giving them a strong heritage. The brotherhood and sense of strong pride has been passed down through the generations. Family and close friends started the original Latin Counts, which these days are known as Senior Counts, younger branches from the early 60s until today still exist. From the Senior Counts, Latin Counts, Junior Counts, Little Latin Counts and Pee Wee Counts to what is now known as the Almighty Insane Latin Count Nation.
What started originally in Pilsen now exists in many parts of Illinois and Detroit Michigan.
Please send in old school pics, 1950s and 1960s pics would be extra appreciated!
- What year did Marquette Park open? What year did it close and why?
- What year did Mckinley Park open?
- What year did Chicago Heights open?
- What year did Kings and Counts go to war before the People nation existed and why?
Known sections of the Latin Counts past and present
Back of the Yards neighborhood
Sections of Back of the Yards
48th & Morgan
Sections of Brighton Park
42nd & Fairfield
Sections of East Side
106th to 107th, Mackinaw to S Ave O
Heart of Chicago neighborhood 70s, 80s, 90s
Sections of Heart of Chicago
25th & Western 70s, 80s, 90s
23rd & Oakley 70s, 80s
Marshall Square neighborhood Established 1976-1985
Sections of Marshall Square
25th to 26th, California to Washtenaw (Lawndale projects) 1976-1985
Pilsen neighborhood Established as Texans 1955, as Sons of Mexico City 1958, as Latin Counts 1959-present years
Sections of Pilsen
16th to Cullerton, Paulina to Racine (Most Wanted Side) Established 1955-present years
Sections of Marquette Park
71st & Albany
McKinley Park neighborhood Established 1983-present years
Sections of McKinley Park
35th to 37th, Hoyne to Honore (Honore City) Established 1983-present years
Near West Side neighborhood 60s
Arthington & Blue Island 60s
South Chicago neighborhood Established 1983-present years
Sections of South Chicago
91st to South Chicago Ave, Manistee to Houston (South Chicago Cs, South Insane C 91st)
90th to 92nd, Brandon to Burley
South Deering neighborhood Established 1983-present years
Sections of South Deering
105th to 109th, Oglesby to Torrence (Trumbull Park)
94th to 103rd, Houston to Manistee (South Chicago Cs, Veterans Memorial Park)
Addison Established 1980
Bellwood St. Charles Rd & Englewood
Chicago Heights 14th & Park Ave (Darkside)
Cicero Established 1992 14th & 58th (Red Zone, C-Town), Roosevelt to 18th, Austin to Central
Round Lake Beach