27 arrested in West Side drug ring - FOX 32 News Chicago

27 arrested in West Side drug ring

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FOX 32 Photo | Craig Wall FOX 32 Photo | Craig Wall
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Twenty-seven people were arrested Thursday for allegedly participating in a heroin and crack cocaine ring near Douglas Park on the West Side.

Kenneth Shoulders, who allegedly controlled the drug operation, is one of 14 people facing federal drug charges, while 13 other people are charged in state court, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a release.

In the 2900 block of West Filmore, there was a busy snow cone stand attracting customers. However, the Feds said it was actually gang members dealing heroin.

The federal and state cooperative investigation began last September and targeted various gang factions that had taken over street corners in a 12 block area north of Douglas Park.

“In about one year the Strike Force was able to take out a gang related significant, heroin distribution network that was unfairly and unduly impacting a significant section of a neighborhood in the city of Chicago,” said U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon.

Drug dealers on the city's west side have been providing heroin for customers from all over. The area's quick and easy access just off the Eisenhower Expressway led to a stretch of interstate being nicknamed the ‘Heroin Highway,’ often used by suburban drug users looking for their fix.

Authorities raided two buildings in this block that they identified as the gang's chief stash houses for their drugs. They seized nearly a half-kilogram of heroin, cocaine, $140,000, eight handguns and an AR-15 assault rifle during Thursday’s arrests, authorities said.

Officials previously seized another half-kilogram of heroin during the investigation since last August, authorities said.

Members of the Chicago Police Department and the Drug Enforcement administration assigned to the Chicago Strike Force investigated the case.

Neighbors welcomed the word of the arrests.

“I hope they can make it better, I hope they can make our neighborhood better. Stop all the violence and all that,” said West Side resident Sheila Knighton.

Law enforcement officials said that this new cooperative way of going after gangs is setting new standards for cities across the country, as well as sending a message.

“While the gang members we arrest and prosecute may fight over power and turf battles, the law enforcement agencies represented here today do not,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Residents wonder, though, how long before other dealers fill the voids on the street corners.

“You lock somebody up, somebody else gonna come out and feel like…well I'm gonna do it,” said West Side resident Marquisha Henry.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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