CHICAGO — A series of coordinated drug enforcement raids led to 77 arrests and more than $65,000 in confiscated drugs on the West Side, police announced Saturday.
The haul from the operation also included $2,200 in U.S. currency, a vehicle and 11 guns, including a .22 caliber rifle, police said.
Of the 77 people arrested, 57 were previously convicted felons and 63 were listed on the department's "strategic subject list" cataloging known gun offenders.
As a result of the raids, three businesses were shut down by the city's Department of Buildings in the 4100 block of West Roosevelt Road, police said.
The operation was targeted based on "direct feedback of aldermen, community members," and "historical crime incidents," according to a police statement.
It was carried out to "strike at the heart of gang operations and address spikes in violence," according to the statement.
Going into Labor Day weekend, many Chicagoans braced for another violent holiday. Memorial Day weekend saw 69 people shot this year, and another 66 people were shot during this year's Fourth of July weekend.
August was the city's deadliest single month since 1996.
“I made a commitment to hold offenders that contribute to violence in Chicago accountable and that includes how they fund their criminal activity,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, according to the Saturday release. "These initiatives show CPD’s continued effort to strike gang related operations from every angle to reduce the violence being committed in some of our neighborhoods."
State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) has vowed to introduce a bill in the General Assembly this fall that would set guidelines for sentencing gun offenders based on Chicago Police data.
Of the 77 people arrested in the drug raids, nine "non-violent drug offenders" were enrolled in a department-led "diversion program," which "seeks to provide addiction services and counseling to these individuals as an alternative to arrest and incarceration," police said.
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