Many of the 46 regulations read like a manual for fast-food employees or convenience-store clerks.

You must be 16 years old to work “on the line.” Report to work on time. Limit bathroom breaks to 15 minutes. Sign in and out each day. And no sitting down or horsing around while on duty.

The rules, chock-full of mispellings and street slang, aren’t contained in a tidy corporate packet or posted on a store bulletin board. Rather, the “House Rules” for the Mickey Cobras street gang are handwritten on five pages of plain paper and were found by police stuffed in the pockets of several members who accused of selling crack cocaine.

Made public recently by police sources, the sheets outline how gang members should behave while peddling drugs in the Robert Taylor Homes. Not only do they give a vivid glimpse into the world of gangs but also, law enforcement authorities say, underline how central the drug business has become in some Chicago gangs.

“The dope and the money-making is more important than the brotherhood,” said Cmdr. Robert Guthrie, a former gang-crimes investigator who now oversees the department’s public housing unit.

The rules make it clear that activities normally associated with gangs, like graffiti and fighting, are not acceptable while drugs are being sold, he said.

“It’s all geared for better business,” Guthrie said. “They don’t want any trouble . . . They don’t want the heat.”

Rule No. 14 for the Mickey Cobras is “There will be no more paying brothers and sisters to do your security.”

Rule No. 28: “There will be no getting hi or drinking on the line.”

And rule No. 31: “There will be no breaking into apartment or vacant apartment in the building.”

The list is a detailed explanation of how to act as “security” for drug sales and how to sell “packs” of crack in three buildings of the Robert Taylor Homes that are controlled by the gang.

The area around the buildings, at 5326 S. State St., 5322 S. State St. and 5323 S. Federal St., is known as “The Hole.”

“They look at the buildings as their retail drugstore,” said George Knox, a criminal justice professor at Chicago State University who has studied Chicago street gangs. “And they really do have elaborate procedures.”

Knox and gang investigators said lists like the one belonging to the Mickey Cobras are not uncommon among street gangs.

In the last two decades, authorities said, they have confiscated typewritten gang bylaws and constitutions, rules for drug dealing, charts of gang hierarchy and a how-to guide for drive-by shootings.

“It’s just like any other corporation,” said Donald Hilbring, commander of the Chicago police gang unit. “If there’s no rules, no one knows what’s going on. They get lunch breaks, set time for shifts, are not supposed to socialize.”

Last summer, Hilbring recalled, officers seized an instruction list that a West Side gang was passing out to its drug customers. Among its demands: exact change, no cutting in line and no $1 bills.

Gang investigators over the years also have confiscated edicts from imprisoned gang leader Larry Hoover, the “chairman” of the state’s largest street gang, the Gangster Disciples, Knox said.

One memo from “the chairman and the board of directors” and dated July 23, 1983, addresses an important gang edict: Don’t talk to law enforcement interrogators. The memo begins by reminding “all brothers of the struggle” about the story of the duck:

“If any of you have ever had the opportunity to go on a hunting trip (in the free world) before being locked up, then you know full well that if the duck had kept his mouth shut, instead of quacking, he wouldn’t have given his position away and, naturally, wouldn’t have been our dinner.”

The memo notes that interrogations are inevitable because “not all business can be taken care of in a smooth way” and reminds gang members that police legally must inform them of their right to remain silent or have an attorney present before interviewing them. It even cites the court case-Miranda vs. Arizona.

Violations of the instructions in the memo “most certainly will not be tolerated,” the chairman and his board write in the memo.

Knox’s textbook, “An Introduction to Gangs,” lists several gang constitutions, which are filled with rules, pseudo-religious ramblings and the expected problems with spelling.

Take this excerpt from the Vice Lord constitution: “Every member of the Amalgamated Order of Lordism will at all times maintain him or herself within the Code of Conduct Chain of Command, and the principals of law in the highest manor.”

But a Chicago Housing Authority sergeant who works in the Robert Taylor Homes said despite the sophistication of the drug trade, rules and bylaws created by imprisoned gang leaders are routinely violated on the street. There, he said, teenage gang members are more interested in their own pocketbook than gang loyalty.

“The loyalty is to the dollar,” said Sgt. Matt Brandon of the CHA tactical unit.

Brandon said the Mickey Cobras’ rules “is just some attempt by the hierarchy to keep some sort of order.

“But none of the kids abide by it,” he said. “It’s a fallacy that they put on paper that you have to be 16 on the line. I’ve caught them as young as 12 on the line.”

Like many of Chicago street gangs, the Mickey Cobras have a long history.

They were originally known as the Cobrastones, and were formed in the Robert Taylor Homes in the early 1960s. After their leader, Mickey Cogwell, was gunned down in front of his South Side home in 1977, the gang adopted the name Mickey Cobras in honor of him.

The gang long has controlled the area of the Hole, though most of the other buildings in Robert Taylor are the turf of their rival, the Gangster Disciples. Control means access to the profits from the drug trade.

In most gangs, Knox said, the street-level security and sellers are rewarded with some money, occasional parties and the hope of moving up the gang ladder.

“The Horatio Alger of today is the gang leader,” said Knox, referring to the 19th Century author made famous by his stories of rags-to-riches success. “He’s got the props. He’s got the Mercedes, and he’s got a BMW too.”

The motivation for young gang members, Knox said, is “there is a way out of this misery, and I too can be a gang leader.”

The Mickey Cobras’ drug operation is set up so that shifts of “security” patrol the lobby area, acting as lookouts for police or anyone else who might interfere with drug sales, according to police and the list of rules.

The rules state that one gang member on “security” patrols the front door of the building, while the other mans the back door. All customers entering the building must be searched.

Gang members who sell “packs” of cocaine “on the line” must be finished with work by midnight. Sellers are allowed to have “a 60-sack on the line,” meaning 60 small bags of cocaine in one pack, Guthrie said.

A seller must turn over the proceeds from one pack before he can get another to sell, the rules state. And gang members are forbidden from selling crack on the ground level of the building.

A central theme to the Mickey Cobras’ rules is respect for the drug customer. As such, gang members are forbidden from parking in the basketball court or playground from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. to leave room from customers.

Finally, the rules make clear that anyone who violates them will be dragged before the gang’s “board” and punished.

“If anyone break these laws or house rules more than three time, the penalty will increase,” rule No. 45 warns, though it doesn’t specify the punishment.

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