CHICAGO — Five members of the notorious El Rukn street gang were found guilty Tuesday of conspiring to blow up airplanes and U.S. government buildings as part of a terrorism-for-hire scheme to obtain $2.5 million from Libya.
A U.S. District Court jury returned the verdict after six days of deliberation.
El Rukn leader Jeff Fort and co-defendants Leon McAnderson, Reico Cranshaw, Alan Knox and Roosevelt Hawkins had contended that El Rukn is a religious organization. They denied having planned violence and said that they had met with Libyans only to raise money for a mosque.
Sentencing was set for Dec. 29. Fort faces a maximum of 260 years in prison, McAnderson and Cranshaw up to 190 years, Knox up to 130 years and Hawkins up to 25 years. Defense attorneys said they would file motions for a new trial.
Indictments charged that in 1986 several members of the gang traveled to Libya, Panama and several other places and offered "their services" to Libyan representatives, hoping to get as much as $2.5 million in exchange.