By the time they were 12, the boys were already known for their daring stunts, their sense of humor, their penchant for guns and their love of adventure.
But for a little girl who lived a year before them in suburban Chicago, the real adventure began when the boys hit a snag when they were arrested for a series of crimes that included drug possession and weapons violations.
In September 2019, they were sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Now in their early 20s, the young men’s crimes made them the center of national attention and sparked outrage over their incarceration.
And the spotlight was on the younger generation of the group, including their father, who had already spent years behind bars and had become a national figure in the world of organized crime.
The men, who have all pleaded not guilty, are among more than 1,300 people currently serving life without parole for drug-related crimes and have spent nearly 30 years in prison.
The arrest and trial of these men came at a time when some U.S. states and cities were considering sentencing reform and efforts to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, which often carry a mandatory minimum of 25 years.
The young men, whose names have not been released, began their criminal career when they moved into a small apartment in downtown Chicago, where they worked as construction workers and bartenders.
They eventually moved to a neighboring apartment and were arrested, according to court documents.
The boys were among a small group of men and boys convicted in a series in the early 1970s that helped spark an anti-drug movement that resulted in more than 100 years of mandatory minimum sentencing laws.
Prosecutors say the men stole money, cars and other items from a bank, including an automobile valued at about $100,000.
The brothers were sentenced in 1977 to life without the possibility of parole.
A series of burglaries in the 1970s and ’80s led police to the brothers, who were eventually charged with theft.
The investigation led to a string of arrests that included the brothers.
After the brothers were arrested in 1977, prosecutors say the FBI investigated a network of men in the area, including the brothers who operated a drug dealing operation and the boys who acted as escorts.
The FBI, which had been working on the case for nearly 20 years, then went to the city’s gang unit, according a law enforcement source.
It was there that a federal agent began interviewing the men, and after an interview, the agent gave the men a list of questions to ask in exchange for leniency.
The agents then began interviewing their parents.
The agents interviewed several relatives, family members, neighbors and a few former gang members, according the source.
The interviews were not related to the gang case.
The U.F.O.S., which stands for United For the Sovereignty of the Nation States, was formed in 1967 to represent the interests of American citizens in the international community.
Its first members were American citizens who joined the group when they returned from Vietnam.