Eight known or suspected members of the Gangster Disciples street gang were arrested early on Tuesday, culminating a nearly three-year investigation into drug trafficking in and around the Cabrini-Green housing project on Chicago’s Near North Side, the FBI and Chicago police announced on Wednesday.
All of those arrested were taken into custody at various locations in Chicago, without incident, by members of the FBI’s Joint Task Force on Gangs and Officers from the CPD Gang Investigations Unit, according to a release Wednesday from the Chicago FBI office.
Four defendants were charged in separate criminal complaints, filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court in Chicago, with distribution of a controlled substance (crack cocaine) which is a felony offense, while four others were charged in Cook County Circuit Court with firearms violations.
According to the complaints filed in federal court, four of those charged were alleged to have been involved in the wholesale distribution and sale of crack cocaine on the Near North Side since at least November of 2007.
The primary areas from which they are alleged to have been engaged in the drug trade were bounded by Evergreen Avenue, Sedgwick Avenue, Chicago Avenue, and Larrabee Street, the release said.
Those arrested on Tuesday who were charged with violating federal drug laws, all of whom are from Chicago, are: Ernest Banks, 36, of 1244 N. Bosworth Avenue; Baaque Johnson, 34, of 2118 W. Madison Street; Ernie Robinson, 38, of 10618 S. Perry Ave.; and Levale Vann, 30, of 1170 W. Erie St.
Those arrested on Tuesday who were charged with violating state firearms laws, all of whom are from Chicago, are: Tavares Gunn, 19, of 1230 N. Burling St.; Jarod Jarrett, 23, of 1648 N. Vine St.; Corey Smith, 36, of 1534 N. Linder Ave.; and Ellis Woodland, 36, of 565 N. Pine Ave.
This investigation employed the extensive use of sophisticated physical surveillance techniques, the controlled purchase of illicit drugs and the consensual recording of telephone conversations involving one or more of the defendants, the release said.
Banks, Johnson, Robinson and Vann all appeared before Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys in Chicago, late Tuesday, at which time they were formally charged. All four were ordered held without bond, pending their next court appearance, which is scheduled for June 21. Until then, they will be housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. If convicted of the charges filed against them, all four defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Gunn, Jarrett, Smith and Woodland are being held in Cook County Jail on secured bond of $70,000 each. Their next scheduled court date is June 22.