An investigation involving wiretapped cellphones, undercover drug buys and extensive surveillance ended with more than 65 people charged for their alleged roles in distributing heroin, cocaine and fentanyl on Chicago’s West Side, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
The joint federal and state investigation, dubbed “Operation Sweet Dreams,” was carried out for more than a year and lead to the seizures of more than a dozen firearms, including an assault rifle and semiautomatic pistol, more than three kilograms of heroin, three kilograms of cocaine and more than $380,000 in cash.
Several of those charged were arrested this morning, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The charges describe an extensive drug distribution network, mainly in the Garfield Park, Homan Square and North Lawndale neighborhoods. Two of the charged face federal firearm violations as part of criminal complaints filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court and unsealed after the arrests.
“The investigation uncovered numerous drug deals, including one that occurred last October in an alley in the 1800 block of North Leavitt Street in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “A defendant purchased two kilograms of heroin in exchange for $132,800 in cash, the complaint states. The defendant was under law enforcement surveillance when he picked up the cash from a Near West Side house, the complaint states. The money was wrapped in a red and white Target shopping bag.”
The defendant also allegedly agreed to sell his Chevrolet conversion van to a law enforcement officer posing as a buyer he met online for a kilogram of cocaine.
“During an afternoon meeting last August at Diversey and Austin Avenues in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood of Chicago, the undercover officer gave the defendant a black bag containing a kilogram of sham cocaine in exchange for the van, according to the complaint,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “The deal was surreptitiously recorded by law enforcement.”
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said at a news conference announcing the charges Thursday "Our office stands ready to prosecute at the fullest extent."