Dreaded Chicago mob associate and reputed Outfit robbery crew leader Charles (Chuckie the Electrician) Russell was with his driver and suspected partner-in-crime David Perez when he was arrested by the ATF in front of a delicatessen in the South Loop last month on weapons charges. Perez wasn’t detained when agents swept in to handcuff his boss at the downtown deli.

The 67-year old Russell, brother-in-law to alleged Outfit Grand Avenue capo and street boss Albert (Albie the Falcon) Vena, was bound over for trial in federal court last week after being recorded trying to buy Uzis and AK-47s from an undercover ATF agent in December. He’s being held without bail and per sources, almost certainly has a subsequent larger, more serious racketeering indictment coming his way in the near future.

Vena and his entire Westside regime has been under assault by the government in recent years, the reported focus of a high-priority, multi-agency investigation. Russell is the fourth prominent member of Vena’s inner-circle to be arrested on felony charges in less than four years.

Russell and Perez met in prison – the “Electrician” was serving nearly 20 years for a vicious sexual assault, while Perez was there doing a 30-year bid for a murder he committed as a teenager. Perez, 54, got out first, in 2008 and Russell followed in 2011. They were both acquitted at trial of breaking and entering charges two years ago in state court.

According to sources on the street and in Illinois law enforcement, the pair heads a gang of burglars known as the Bishop Boys. Chicago Police are eying the gang for a string of break-ins in the Jefferson Park neighborhood back in the summer and fall as well as many others.

With the tape rolling, Russell boasted to the undercover ATF agent of murdering an African-American drug dealer in a drive-by shooting in the fall, that his burglary ring had pulled hundreds of jobs around the city and his intent of possibly using a blow torch to torture an elderly attorney in the suburbs into opening up his home safe which Russell heard had $750,000 stashed in it. Chicago Crime Commission files paint Russell as a longtime top enforcer for the Outfit’s Grand Ave. crew located on the far Westside of the Windy City, groomed in the job by legendary Midwest mob goon Francis (Frank the German) Schweihs.

The Grand Ave. mafia contingent in Chicago has always been known as a hotbed for burglars, thieves and thugs like Russell Perez and the German, who died in 2008. Chuckie the Electrician’s brother-in-law Albie Vena, a man some call the most feared figure in the whole Outfit, took over the Grand Ave. crew on an official basis in around 2009, but had been acting crew chief since 2006. Upon Grand Ave.’s liaison to the local narcotics and street-gang world Robert (Bobby Pinocchio) Panozzo being jailed two and a half years ago, for what else? – leading an armed robbery and home invasion ring targeting gang-affiliated drug dealers – the 68-year old Vena allegedly tapped Russell to take his place, per sources with knowledge of the ATF probe. Panozzo, 57, is currently awaiting trial.

The Bishop Boys began as a Hispanic street gang. Another gang Russell and Perez oversee, according to these sources, is the C-Notes, a de-facto farm club for the Outfit dating back decades and a group of young hoodlums Vena himself was said to once belong to.

Perez’s homicide conviction arose from gang activity during his youth. He killed rival gang banger Wilfredo Dones on the night of August 5, 1978 near the intersection of Kenmore and Belmont, shooting both him and his girlfriend Bernice Pagan at close range. Dones, 17, died on the spot. The 16-year old Pagan survived.

Leave a Reply