BRONZEVILLE — A major narcotics bust is indicative of a wider strategy in fighting Chicago's drug scourge, police said Thursday afternoon.
Twenty-two out of 24 people indicted in a local drug ring are currently in custody, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. The West Side investigation was a joint operation with Drug Enforcement Administration officials and other local police agencies.
"This is the first case where the Chicago Strike Force was able to have a major impact," said Jack Riley, head of DEA operations in Chicago. "We're not going away, we're just getting geared up ... this is a great day for the good guys in Chicago."
About $75,000 in cash, eight guns and various drugs were recovered in the ongoing investigation, in addition to 3 pounds of heroin and 9 pounds of cocaine recovered since last fall, McCarthy said.
The investigation focused on the West Side where "the nexus" of gangs and guns tend to meet at the narcotics trade, McCarthy said.
"What's different about the Strike Force is that it's a multitude of agencies, on the ground, taking out the tentacles of operation," he said.
Police officials are following the narcotics trail wherever it leads, Riley said, whether it be the northern Illinois town of Rockford or Minneapolis, for example.
"The problem we face is a regional dilemma," he added. "We've got to make the connections even if it leads to Mexico."
Thursday's joint operation focused on transporters, financiers and distributors in three separate drug markets in Chicago, McCarthy said.