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Six arrested under RICO law held without bail

Reputed Black Souls leader Cornel Dawson.

Reputed Black Souls leader Cornel Dawson.

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Updated: June 15, 2013 12:54AM

The leader of a West Side gang, his right-hand man and four other purported high-ranking members of the Black Souls were ordered held without bail Friday following their arrests in a massive roundup under a new state racketeering law.

Cornel “Corn” Dawson, 38, and Teron Odum, 34, “vehemently deny” the charges stemming from the Operation .40-Cal investigation, an assistant public defender said, describing the pair as barbers.

The Black Souls are accused of at least six murders, kidnapping, gunrunning and drug dealing, authorities said.

Dawson and Odum are two of 23 people charged with racketeering conspiracy — marking the first time the state used its recently implemented Street Gang RICO law.

Fifteen of the other 23 suspects facing RICO charges also appeared in court Friday, including Duavon Spears, who allegedly shot West Side resident Claude Snulligan after he went to police to complain about illegal activity on his block in October.

Snulligan’s death prompted the Operation .40-Cal probe, authorities said earlier this week as they outlined the charges.

Spears, who is already in custody for another crime, was ordered held without bail.

Also held without bail were purported Black Souls Antwan Davis, 30; Ulysses Polk, 32; Clifton Lemon Sr., 41, and Jeff Thompson, 44.

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