Tag Archives: Heroin

More than 50 charged in drug raids targeting West Side

(CHICAGO) More than 50 people are facing federal or state charges for their roles in selling heroin and cocaine on the West Side, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

A joint federal and state task force uncovered suspects participating in a narcotics-distribution organization in the North Lawndale neighborhood run by members of the Traveling Vice Lords street gang, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement Thursday.

More than 40 of the suspects will face charges in state court, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Eleven suspects face charges in federal court.

The investigation, dubbed “Operation Shut Travel Down,” spanned more than a year and uncovered criminal activity through wiretapped cell phones, undercover narcotics purchases and extensive surveillance, the U.S. attorney’s office said. It resulted in the seizure of ten firearms, more than 3,500 grams of heroin, more than 550 grams of cocaine and crack cocaine, and more than 2,000 grams of methamphetamine.

Law enforcement officers began making arrests Thursday morning, the U.S. attorney’s office said. It also executed search warrants at two alleged drug stash houses, including a barbershop in the 900 block of South Western Avenue.

The barbershop’s owner, 38-year-old Tyrone Hunter, of Chicago, is a ranking member of the gang and described as a drug supplier and sales supervisor, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The operation’s other supervisor was identified as 32-year-old Anthony Williams, of Chicago, the U.S. attorney’s office said. He was observed conducting numerous drug deals and repeatedly sold narcotics to an undercover officer during the investigation.

The investigation charged numerous gang members with overseeing the drug deals, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Calvin Williams, 41, of Chicago, was charged with overseeing cocaine and heroin distribution near the intersection of California Avenue and Harrison Street.

Several gang members were charged with overseeing street-level drug distribution, including 24-year-old Demetrius Yancy, of Chicago; 39-year-old Ricky Brooks, of Chicago; 46-year-old Jerome Choice, of Chicago; 34-year-old Terrance Brooks, of Chicago; and 53-year-old Atkins Williams, of Chicago, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Sir Charles Bland, 38, of Bolingbrook, and Salvador Rojas-Santos, 63, of Mexico, were both charged with supplying heroin and cocaine to Hunter and Williams for distribution, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

John Anthony, 40, of Chicago, was also charged with distributing heroin to undercover officers multiple times in 2016, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Of the eleven suspects facing federal charges, seven face cocaine and heroin distribution charges, the U.S. attorney’s office said. One suspect is charged with possession with intent to distribute and possession of a weapon by an illegal alien, and another is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

The federal defendants began making initial court appearances Thursday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier, the U.S. attorney’s office said. The state defendants will appear later in Cook County Criminal Court.

Dozens Arrested for Selling Fentanyl-Laced Heroin

Jennifer Keiper, WLS-AM 890 News

(CHICAGO) Dozens of gang members on Chicago’s West Side are now facing charges of selling fentanyl-laced heroin.
The Eisenhower Expressway has become known, by some, as the “Heroin Highway” with people exiting, buying drugs and then getting right back on the Ike a block or two away.
Sixty-five people have been arrested for selling drugs, including heroin-laced fentanyl, 18 of them in federal court.
U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon says of the 3.8 kilograms of heroin recovered, 148 grams were laced with fentanyl.

“Two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal.  To put it in perspective, when you’re at the restaurant and there’s a sugar packet on your table that your kid is playing with that’s a thousand milligrams.  Two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal. So, lacing any heroin with fentanyl is a very, very dangerous proposition,” said Fardon.

While deaths in Chicago and across the country have been linked to fentanyl-laced heroin, Fardon says there are no death charges in the latest complaints.
Various drugs, as well as guns and cash, have been seized as part of the 2-year long “Operation Sweet Dreams.”

Fourth person saved in Lake County from opioid overdose in 2017

(BEACH PARK) A woman was saved from an opioid overdose on Saturday when deputies administered three doses of Naloxone in north suburban Beach Park.

About 4:30 p.m., deputies were called to the 38500 block of North Sheridan Road for a 34-year-old woman who was not breathing, according to a statement from the Lake County sheriff’s office.

When deputies arrived, the woman’s family had already administered three doses of Naloxone, police said. Deputies attempted to give her another dose but were unsuccessful and then began CPR until paramedics arrived.

The woman started to breathe on her own and was taken to a nearby hospital where she was expected to recover, police said.

Naloxone is a nasal mist that should awaken a person who is overdosing on an opioid drug.

So far in 2017, Lake County sheriff’s deputies have saved four people from opioid overdose. Last year, 84 people were saved with Naloxone, according to the Lake County Opioid Initiative.

On Thursday, the Lake County sheriff’s department arrested four alleged heroin dealers in an undercover investigation along with the DEA, FBI, ATF and Homeland Security.

Heroin crime immunity yields mixed results, AP review finds

(CHICAGO) Authorities in the Cincinnati area made an offer last month: Hand in potentially deadly drugs and you won’t be charged.

But the blanket immunity there hasn’t brought in any heroin so far.

An Associated Press review has found that results from similar efforts elsewhere have been mixed. But that hasn’t dissuaded supporters who feel like their backs are against the wall as they try to combat the opiate epidemic.

National addiction experts stress simply offering immunity for turning in drugs isn’t enough. They need to be combined with efforts to end the cycle of drug abuse, arrest and incarceration.

In Gloucester, Massachusetts, addicts can turn in their drugs to police without fear of arrest. But officials say less than 20 percent of the over 500 addicts placed into treatment since June 2015 has actually done so.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video shows couple in Wisconsin after overdose

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 A Milwaukee family recently shared video they took of a couple passed out in their car with a toddler nearby.
Pair in Ohio heroin photo ‘almost definitely’ would have died, official says
By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
The unconscious man and woman in the photograph distributed by an Ohio police department as part of a heroin-awareness initiative “almost definitely” would have died had police not intervened, East Liverpool service safety director Brian Allen said.
The photo shows the woman and man passed out, allegedly from an overdose of the powerful narcotic, while a 4-year-old boy in the back of the vehicle, still strapped in his car seat, looks out the window.
The pair were driving erratically on September 7 and had stopped behind a school bus, Allen said Monday, explaining the photo’s origin. A police officer en route to work stopped behind the car, and when the bus pulled away, Allen said, the driver of the car, James Acord, drove slowly for a short distance before coming to a stop in the road on a steep hill.
The officer got out of his car to check on the vehicle, he said.
“He actually put the (suspects’) car in park and shut the car off,” Allen said.
What about the child?
An affidavit says Acord’s head was “bobbing back and forth (and) his speech was almost unintelligible.” East Liverpool police officer Kevin Thompson, who conducted the traffic stop, said the driver was trying to tell him that he was transporting his passenger, Rhonda Pasek, to the hospital, when he lost consciousness.
The boy in the back is Pasek’s 4-year-old grandson, according to Dane Walton, administrator for the Columbiana County Juvenile Court. Earlier, police had said he is her son.
Paramedics were called and administered Narcan, an opiate reversal agent, to the woman, who was turning blue, the affidavit says.
Before releasing the photo, police administrators discussed their concern for the child, but felt the benefits of using the photo to raise awareness about the perils of heroin outweighed those concerns, East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane said. The whole ordeal will help the child in the long run, he said.
“It’ll get him the help that he needs, get him out of that environment and get him where he needs to be — in a safe environment, in a loving environment,” he told CNN.
Pasek had been granted custody of the boy just six weeks before her arrest, Walton said. The boy’s parents are unable to raise him, he said.
The boy will live with his great-aunt and great-uncle in South Carolina, Walton said.
Debate over the photo
On the East Liverpool city government’s Facebook page, where the image of the unconscious man and woman first appeared, officials acknowledged the touchy nature of publicizing the photo. But given the scourge of heroin use in the area, they felt sensitivity was secondary to raising awareness.
“We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis,” the city said in the post.
“The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours. The difference is we are willing to fight this problem until it’s gone and if that means we offend a few people along the way we are prepared to deal with that.”
On CNN’s Facebook page, much of the chatter over publicizing the picture of the overdosed couple revolved around American drug policy in general. But there was plenty of debate around whether this was a viable tactic in combating the area’s drug problem.
“Stop sharing this! If this is meant to help these people or anyone else, it will not. Drug addictions and mental diseases are not just cured by sharing photos of people at their lows,” Reggie Bell posted. “If this shame is what this news source and that police department think is going to help mental wellness or addiction, they have just proven their ignorance.”
Sam Joseph Benallack, however, felt the East Liverpool police had done something commendable: “These images are necessary to educate people about rampant drug use in the presence of children. These two strung out junkies are a shameless, disrespectful representation of parenthood and should NEVER be allowed to see this child EVER AGAIN!!!”
A call to help your neighbor
According to court documents, Acord pleaded no contest to operating a vehicle while impaired and endangering a child. He was sentenced Thursday to 360 days in jail, had his driver’s license suspended for three years and was fined $475.
Pasek pleaded not guilty Thursday to endangering a child, disorderly conduct and public intoxication. She is being held on a $150,000 bond, CNN affiliate WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio, reported. Allen said she is scheduled to appear in East Liverpool Municipal Court this week.
Allen said his city needs state and federal support in fighting the heroin epidemic, and he also called on East Liverpool’s “non-drug-using public to actually get involved and help their neighbor.”
Lane said he’d like to see more police presence in schools, where young people can be educated about the drug, as well as more treatment facilities, even in jails.
“Putting a Band-Aid on something that’s as bad as a bullet hole’s not going to get it done,” he said.
Startling numbers statewide
Ohio is in the throes of a heroin epidemic, and it’s not just this town of 11,000 on the Pennsylvania border, roughly 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. An hour’s drive away, in Akron, authorities reported 24 heroin overdoses Friday, bringing this year’s total to 112, CNN affiliate WEWS reported.
According to the Ohio Health Department, 1,424 people died of heroin overdoses last year, up from 87 people in 2003 — a more than 1,700% increase in just 12 years.
Heroin isn’t the only culprit, either. Fatal overdoses from another powerful opiate, fentanyl, jumped from four in 2007 to 1,155 last year, the state Health Department reported.
Authorities say drug users are also abusing carfentanil, a sedative for large animals, and Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco said last month that eight deaths in Cincinnati could be attributed to the most potent opioid on the commercial market. It’s 10,000 times stronger than morphine.
Police suspect the heroin involved in Friday’s Akron overdoses was laced with fentanyl or carfentanil, WEWS reported.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Man gets 19 years for NW Indiana heroin ring

(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) A south suburban man was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison Thursday for his role in an operation that trafficked heroin between the Chicago area and northwest Indiana.

Antwon Willis, 46, of Richton Park, was the primary source of much of the heroin that was ultimately resold in northwest Indiana, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Indiana.

On Thursday, Willis was sentenced to 235 months imprisonment and four years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute heroin, prosecutors said. A five-day jury trail concluded with guilty verdicts on Feb. 5.

From 2009 to October 2014, Willis “combined, conspired, confederated and agreed with other persons to distribute over 100 grams of heroin” in a drug ring that spread to Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota, prosecutors said.

Willis mainly used intermediaries to make numerous trips and calls to buy heroin from him, then bring it back to LaPorte and Porter counties and eastern Illinois to use and sell to others, prosecutors said. He was also responsible for distributing at least 18 kilograms of heroin.

“Our federal, state and local partners work closely together with my office to locate the distributors of this highly addictive, dangerous drug and prosecute them,” U.S. Attorney David Capp said in the statement. “Even if someone lives in another community, or even another state, when heroin is sold in Indiana we will pursue the people who are responsible. We will continue to devote resources through prosecution and community training to curb this epidemic.”

Man with $320K worth of heroin arrested in Naperville

(CHICAGO) A man was arrested Tuesday in west suburban Naperville with more than $300,000 worth of heroin in his vehicle, police said.

Eduardo Lara Cardenas, 49, was charged with one felony count of unlawful possession with intent to deliver and one felony count of controlled substance trafficking, according to Naperville police.

Cardenas, of Elgin, was in vehicle that was stopped during a narcotics investigation at 2:30 p.m. near Center and School streets in Naperville, police said.

An Amtrak K9 unit alerted the police to the vehicle where officers found more than three pounds of heroin worth about $320,000, police said.

Court information for Cardenas was not immediately available.

Congress to focus on Heroin Epidemic

By Nick Gale, WLS News

(CHICAGO) The heroin epidemic, particularly in the Midwest, is drawing the attention of Congress.

Members will consider 18 pieces of legislation this week dealing with the opioid epidemic.

“In the suburbs of Chicago, the area that I represent, we’re losing one person every three days in the collar counties,” Dold said. “We lose one every day in Cook County.”

Dold says making anti-overdose drugs more widely available could mean fewer overdose deaths each year. He has introduced one such law.

“Lali’s law increases access to the life saving antidote called Naloxone which has already saved nearly 100 lives in Lake County, Illinois alone in just a little over one year.”

Lali’s Law is named after Alex Laliberte, a Buffalo Grove resident and Stevenson High School graduate, who passed away seven years ago from a drug overdose.

Trick negotiations with the Senate still lie ahead. The House approach is more wide-ranging than legislation the Senate passed two months ago.

For instance, the House legislation focuses more on drug trafficking than the Senate bill. It would give states and local governments wider latitude with how they use federal grants, though advocates for opioid legislation worry this could compromise efforts to fund specific programs, particularly those aimed at recovery efforts.

@ 2016 WLS-AM News


Three women arrested at O’Hare with $3M worth of drug

Pa Yang, Mai Vue Vang and True Thao | Chicago Police

(CHICAGO) Three Minnesota women were arrested Tuesday afternoon at O’Hare International Airport carrying more than $3 million worth of heroin and opium.

Pa Yang, 57; Mai Vue Vang, 58; and True Thao, 52 were each charged with one felony count of manufacturing and delivering more than 900 grams of heroin or heroin analogs, according to Chicago Police.

The women were arrested about 4:20 p.m. in Terminal 5 of the airport after they got off a flight from Japan, police said.

U.S. Customs agents found many small packets of heroin and opium adding up to 31.5 kilograms during a luggage screening, police said. The drugs have an estimated street value of more than $3 million.

Yang and Vang are from St. Paul and Thao is from Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police said. All three are scheduled to appear in bond court Wednesday.

4 arrested in Joliet heroin trafficking sting

(JOLIET) Four suspected drug dealers were arrested and large quantities of cash, drugs and vehicles were seized in a heroin trafficking sting Tuesday in southwest suburban Joliet.

The arrests were the culmination of a five-month long joint investigation — dubbed “Operation Success” — between Joliet police, the Joliet Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to a statement from Joliet police.

Maceo Johnson, 35, of the 700 block of Oneida Street; Gerry A. Shannon, 36, of the 200 block of North Center Street; and Justin R. Rainey, 33, of the 1000 block of Ronald Drive, were each charged with calculated criminal conspiracy and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, police said.

Johnson, also known as “Success,” was arrested in Chicago by ATF agents and had $938 in cash and several Ecstasy and Xanax pills on him at the time, police said. He is being held on a $6 million bond.

Shannon, also known as “Leon,” was arrested in Joliet and was in possession of $1,150 in cash and about 26.25 grams of heroin, police said. His bond was set at $3 million.

Rainey, also known as “Jay,” was arrested by Joliet police while being released from the Will County Adult Detention Facility on an unrelated charge, police said. He is being held on a $3 million bond.

After the three men were arrested, authorities executed several search warrants in Joliet as a second phase to the investigation, according to police. They seized 288.5 grams of heroin, $355 in cash and a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro in the 700 block of Oneida.

In the 200 block of Center, investigators seized $8,385 in cash and “small quantities” of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, police said. Nathaniel Shannon, 33, was arrested inside the home and charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

A third search warrant was executed in the 3900 block of Mohican Court, police said. Investigators seized a 2015 Cadillac Escalade, a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 2015 GMC Terrain.

The third phase of the investigation involved a sting targeting drug purchasers at a motel in the 1700 block of McDonough Street, police said. A total of 12 suspected buyers were identified, with charges against them pending, and 10 vehicles were towed pending seizure review.

“We will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners, both local and federal, to target the drug dealers who are contributing to the heroin epidemic that is plaguing our community,” Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said in the statement.

© Copyright 2016 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

Heroin overdoses remind ex-Supt. Cline of 2006 epidemic

Customers line up for heroin in the 3700 block of West Grenshaw. | Photo in federal complaint

(CHICAGO) As investigators work to pinpoint the cause of a rash of heroin overdoses that sent at least 74 people to hospitals in 72 hours last week, the flareup triggered memories of a deadly 2006 overdose epidemic.

“Fentanyl was the first thing that popped into my mind,” former Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline said about hearing of the recent overdoses.

Heroin laced with Fentanyl, a painkiller that is 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin, was responsible for a rash of fatal overdoses in early 2006.

“The craziest thing back then was that when other addicts heard people were overdosing, they ran to find the stuff right away because they wanted the most powerful high,” Cline said Sunday. “They think other people’s tolerance is low and they can get that high without going over the edge. But they’re wrong.”

Cline said that in 2006, almost immediately, his officers began interviewing people who had overdosed about where they’d bought their drugs and undercover police began buying the drugs for testing, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The information was passed along, and within months, investigators with the Drug Enforcement Agency were able to trace the tainted heroin to a single lab in Mexico that was ultimately raided and shut down, Cline said.

However, dozens of Fentanyl-related deaths were recorded in Cook County in 2005 and 2006. Other cities around the country dealt with the problem as well.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, street names for Fentanyl include Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash.

Cline said Sunday that many of the same tactics will likely be used to figure out how, during a stretch lasting from Wednesday through Friday, at least 74 people overdosed and ended up at hospitals mostly of the West Side.

Some of them were found with needles still sticking out of their arms, health officials said.

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed Sunday that shoe leather is being expended.

“Investigators are hitting the pavement and trying to determine what the actual source is, if this is a tainted batch, and, if so, what it’s tainted with,” he said.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has made finding the source behind the overdoses a priority, said Guglielmi, who added that top commanders plan to update McCarthy on their findings Monday morning.

Updated numbers on any weekend overdoses in the area were not available Sunday. Health officials stated Saturday that the frequency of cases had declined.

“Hospitals continue to evaluate patients who have overdosed, but the rate at which they are presenting at the hospitals has slowed down,” said Cristina Villarreal, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Meanwhile, paramedics have armed themselves with additional Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.

In addition, investigators are waiting for toxicology results in what police suspect is the drug-related death of a 49-year-old man foundThursday in an apartment in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.

Earlier this summer, many Chicagoans were shocked by a photo included in a federal court filing that showed a line of people extending down a West Side block who were waiting to buy heroin in broad daylight.

The photo was taken in the 3700 block of West Grenshaw, just south of the Eisenhower Expressway, which has come to be known as “Heroin Highway” because of the accessibility it provides to city and suburban heroin customers.

Earlier this year, the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University released a report that said Illinois ranked 44th in the nation in 2012 in state-funded treatment admissions for heroin addiction. And Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget would cut state-funded treatment 61 percent, excluding Medicaid, the report warned.

The report also noted that the Chicago metropolitan area was ranked first in the nation in the number of people admitted to emergency rooms because of heroin use. And Cook County was first for the number of arrestees who tested positive for the drug.

“Whatever it is that’s going around, you just hope they can find out whose putting this stuff out there and put a stop to it or else there’s going to be a lot of deaths,” Cline said. “The addicts think they can handle it but they can’t.”

Chicago man charged with selling heroin in Wheaton

(CHICAGO) A 22-year-old Chicago man was charged with selling heroin in west suburban Wheaton.

Kamron T. Garraway was arrested Friday following an investigation, according to a statement from Wheaton police. Garraway was charged with one count of felony delivery of a controlled substance.

He is being held on $25,000 bond at the DuPage County Jail.

Further details were not available.