Spanish Cobras

The Spanish Cobras is a primarily, but not exclusively, Latino gang started by Puerto Rican teens in Humboldt Park Chicago during the late 1950s.[clarification needed] The Cobras are considered the second-largest Latino Folk gang on the north and northwest side, with the Maniac Latin Disciples being the first.

Richard "King Cobra" Medina became leader of the Spanish Cobras in the early 1970s, growing them from Campbell & Potomac/Maplewood to Division & Maplewood. Medina had his Young Cobras fight other gangs for Artesian & Potomac "A-Town", and Mozart & Cortland "Sin City". Then the Cobras expanded into West Humboldt Park on Ridgeway & Thomas and at Springfield & Hirsch, which branched into the legendary LeMoyne & Springfield, and infamous Avers & Hirsch "Westown Cobras”.

Absorbing the Evergreen Hustlers gang, the Cobras opened Evergreen & Washtenaw. The Spanish Cobras were introduced to the world when they viciously stabbed a Latin King during the 1977 Puerto Rican Parade. That became the catalyst for the Humboldt Park Riots when Latin Kings retaliated later that day. Chicago Police shot at the fighting gangs, killing two innocent bystanders, which caused the community to riot.

The Insane Spanish Cobras made headlines again in Spring of 1979 during their bloody war with the Insane Unknowns, resulting in around 10 homicides and a response from City Hall.

In the 1980’s, according to criminologist John Haggerdon's book, Insane the Chicago Way: "What began to take shape was the daring plan of gang leaders incarcerated in Statesville—Fernando "Prince Fernie" Zayas from the Maniac Latin Disciples, Anibal "Tuffy C" Santiago from the Insane Spanish Cobras, and David Ayala from the Two Sixers—to create a local Latino Mafia".

During the Cobra expansion of the mid and late 80’s, sets opened on Fullerton Ave in Hermosa “The Killing Fields” and along Central Park Ave in Logan Square. Also at Monticello & Cortland “Murder City” which branches into Lawndale & Cortland.

Summer 1989. Francis & Stave YLO Cobras attacked the Simon City Royals in a series of shootouts and rumbles to take over Kosciusko Park, opening Schubert & Avers.

Spanish Cobras are members of Folks and sworn enemies of all People gangs. The Spanish Cobras and Latin Disciples were strong allies in the 1970s and ‘80s, but began deadly turf wars over drug territory around ‘93-‘94. By 1996, the war made the Chicago Tribune. [1] That same year, in retaliation for the murder of a high ranking member, West-Town Cobras shot up a Latin King wedding, resulting in casualties, which was caught on videotape then broadcast on local news stations.

After a nine month undercover narcotics investigation, in January 1998 the Chicago Police Department arrested 31 Spanish Cobras in "Operation: Mongoose", including some gang leaders. This resulted in the closure of a Cobra section.

As head of the Insane Familia, the Spanish Cobras took the alliance of Insane Deuces, Insane Dragons, Orchestra Albany and others to war against the Maniacs and Almighty Folks.

Within Chicago, the neighborhoods with the strongest Insane and YLO Spanish Cobra presence are Humboldt Park, Hermosa, Logan Square, Belmont-Cragin, Albany Park and Kelvyn Park. They are also found in the suburbs of Waukegan, Bensenville and Cicero, with a small presence in the McKinley Park area on the south side.[citation needed] Known to operate in other parts of Illinois, as well as Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha in Wisconsin, and Detroit and are quite large in Flint, Michigan. [2] Law enforcement has reported Spanish Cobras in Ohio, Connecticut and South Florida.


  1. ^ Becker, Robert; Martin, Andrew (November 15, 1996) "Gang Leader Found Guilty of Ordering Rivals' Killings", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  2. ^ "People v. Gonzalez, 663 NW 2d 499 - Mich: Court of Appeals 2003". Retrieved 16 August 2013.

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