More than 70 people were arrested and nearly a dozen weapons recovered in Chicago ahead of the long Fourth of July holiday weekend, police announced Wednesday.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that 77 people were arrested on drugs and weapons charges.
Of those arrested, "a majority are convicted felons, gun offenders, documented gang members and active parolees," said First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio.
The arrests were made by the Organized Crime Bureau as part of “Operation Independence," a month-long operation across the city, according to Riccio.
Most of those arrested were in CPD's Area Central, which covers downtown Chicago and much of the city's West Side. In total, police said 11 illegal guns were seized along with an estimated $400,000 worth of narcotics.
"We’re not looking to cast a big net- these are very targeted, very specific targets," Riccio said, noting that police wanted "the guys that are calling the shots." "We want to target the right people and put the right people in jail."
Of the 77 arrested, police said 48 were on charges of delivery of a controlled substance, 20 were for possession of a controled substance, five were for delivery of cannabis and four were unlawful use of a weapon.
Police said 64 of the 77 had previous contact with Chicago police, 34 had previous convictions and five were on parole. Thirty-eight were also documented gang members and 16 had previously been arrested on gun charges.
Over the last month, police said narcotics units in Area North and Area Central conducted similar investigations, which resulted in an additional 93 arrests and the seizure of 27 additional handguns.
Police said shot guns and assault rifles, one of which was capable of holding 100 rounds of ammunitions, were among the weapons recovered.
"And it’s in the hands of a street gang member," Riccio said. "That’s a pretty scary thing."
Police lamented that last weekend, 40 people were arrested on gun charges, but 25 were out the next day.
"We keep arresting the same people over and over," Riccio said. "There’s a breakdown in the system and its not coming from the chicago police department I can assure you of that."