January 11, 2021 – One-time Chicago street gang section boss Sam (Sammy O) Armstead had five years shaved off his federal prison term for drugs and racketeering via a motion for sentence reduction and will now be home in 2023, not 2028. The 53-year old Armstead ran the Westside of Chicago for the feared Gangster Disciples organization in the first part of the 2000s.

Last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled to reduce Armstead’s 30-year sentence by five years. She noted that Armstead is the last remaining defendant from his case still incarcerated.

Armstead based his GD operations out of the Rockwell Gardens housing project on Western Avenue. His trigger-happy partner, Richard (Icky Red) Epps, urged him to stage a take over of the nearby St. Stephens Terrace Apartments, which they did in 2001. That same year, Epps was demoted from boss duties.

Armstead called a meeting of dozens of GDs at Horan Park at the corner of Van Buren and Albany Avenues on the afternoon of October 2, 2001 and announced he was in charge of the region. Per DEA records, Epps had his stripes pulled for good by the GD national office after a number of warnings regarding his erratic behavior and withholding tribute from a side-hustle drug business went unheeded.

A disgruntled Icky Red Epps flipped and joined Team USA. He helped the feds build the case that ultimately took down Sammy O and 33 other Chicago Westside GDs in a September 2002 bust.

Armstead benefited from the First Step Act, passed by Congress and signed into effect by embattled U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 at the urging of rap auteur Kanye West and his wife, reality-television queen Kim Kardashian. The First Step Act allows for sweeping sentence reductions for non-violent criminals and drug offenders serving lengthy prison bids.

West was born and raised in Chicago and has advocated specifically for Gangster Disciples leaders. Many have since found sentence relief by way of the First Step Act.

In August 2019, William (Too Short) Edwards, who ran the city’s South Side, was released. Johnny (Crusher) Jackson, Edwards’ youth recruiting coordinator and “junior boss,” came home in November of that year. Last spring, James (King) Yates, the boss of GD affairs in the South suburbs in the early 1990s, got out of his life sentence and earned his freedom.

All those men and Sammy O worked for Larry Hoover, the legendary Gangster Disciple founder and Godfather, who has been in prison for the last 48 years. Hoover, 70, formed the Gangster Disciples in 1969 on the South Side of Chicago and still oversees the organization from the SUPERMAX correctional facility in Florence, Colorado, where he’s in 23-hour a day lockdown. GD Nation has tens of thousands of soldiers and maintains an imprint in multiple states around the country.

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