Authorities Target 100 Chicago Gang Members

Investigation began after the killing of off-duty officer Robert Soto, sources say

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Damian Trujillo

    Hundreds of Chicago police officers, FBI Agents and U.S. Marshals Wednesday began rounding up nearly 100 members of the Traveling Vice Lords, a Chicago street gang, on drug and weapons charges.

    It's the culmination of a two-year, multi-agency, wire tap investigation that began in 2008 and came to be known as "Operation Blue Knight," according to a Department of Justice press release.

    "These cases, which we believe weaken the grip of gangs and drugs in our community, happen because dedicated police officers and federal agents, along with state and federal prosecutors, work together to attack these problems,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

    "Operation Blue Knight," started in 2008 with the Chicago Police Department's Organized Crime Division. Their investigation began shortly after off-duty police officer Robert Soto was shot and killed on the West Side of Chicago on Aug. 13, 2008 while sitting in his SUV with a state Department of Children and Family services, according to the Sun-Times.

    A Vice Lord member was arrested and initially charged with murder in that killing,but the charges were later dropped.

    The event spurred the OCD ito begin looking at the Traveling Vice Lords crack and heroin operations at Kedzie Avenue and Ohio Street. Shortly after Federal authorities joined the case.

    So far 60 members have been arrested and another 40 are being sought.

    The arrested members began appearing in court Wednesday at 1:30 before Magistrate Judge Young Kim. Many of those arrested Wednesday were found with drugs and weapons on their persons, authorities said.

    Federal investigators will interview all of the arrested individuals for new information about Soto's death.