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Feds Bust Heroin Hotline Drug Ring

 The FBI announced charges against eight people involved in a Near West Side drug ring.
The FBI announced charges against eight people involved in a Near West Side drug ring.
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CHICAGO — The FBI broke up a Near West Side heroin ring that established a hotline for customers in need of a fix, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Eight people were charged and five were arrested Thursday across the Chicago area by FBI agents and Chicago police.

The arrests are part of an ongoing effort by federal and local law enforcement to disrupt drug trafficking in the area, officials said. Eighteen Black Disciples gang members were arrested and charged with various drug and gun offenses last month.

Thursday's arrests stemmed from an investigation, called Operation Heroin Hotline, that began in 2009, and used surveillance techniques and undercover drug purchases. So far, FBI agents have seized about 750 grams of heroin, $21,000 and a vehicle, officials said.

According to court documents, the eight suspects provided customers with heroin capsules after coordinating sales over the phone. Customers were provided a specific phone number to arrange purchase of the drugs.

The five suspects arrested Thursday were Pierre Henderson, 36, of the 1200 block of South Washtenaw Avenue; his brother Eric Henderson, 34, of the 6400 block of 19th Street in Berwyn; Allen McBeath, 32, of the 1300 block of North Lockwood Avenue; Shronda McDaniel, 30, of the 6400 block of 19th Street in Berwyn; and Harvey Davis, 25, of the 800 block of North Tripp Avenue.

Two other suspects, Anthony Brown, 27, of the 100 block of North Independence Boulevard in Rockford, and Jimmie Sessons, 28, of the 1400 block of South Karlov Avenue, were charged in absentia and are now subjects of a nationwide manhunt. Davis was already in custody on unrelated charges.

Both Henderson, McBeath and McDaniel appeared in federal court Thursday. McDaniel was released on bond, but the others were ordered held until another court appearance next week.

Davis faces 20 years in prison if he is convicted. The other defendants face a minimum five-year sentence, if convicted, but could be sentenced to as many as 40 years and a $5 million fine.