18 Arrested in “Uptown Girl” Drug Investigation

Eighteen people, including three juveniles, were arrested Wednesday as part of a four-month drug investigation, police said.

The investigation -- dubbed "Operation Uptown Girl" by police -- began in response to citizen complaints and an increase in violence by street gangs engaging in drug sales, police said in a news release.

The investigation was a follow up to Operation "Sugar Magnolia," which closed a $500,000 a year, gang-controlled, drug enterprise in January.

The latest operation targeted members of the Gangster Disciple and Vice Lords street gangs involved in a conflict over gang and narcotics territory in the Uptown neighborhood, the release said.

It involved dozens of drug purchases by undercover officers from known gang members operating in two nearby police districts. The drug deals happened within 1,000 feet of schools in the area, police said.

Officers blanked the North Side neighborhood armed with arrest and search warrants, placing 18 people into custody. Another 11 people are still being sought by police, they said.

The 15 people arrested include: Javian Seals; David Burbridge; Michelle Carvajal; Victor Forrest; Mario Hammond; Keith Jones; Jesaja Kandoni; Leslie Lawrence; William Moss; Javian Seals; Gregory Smith; Lanier Smith; David Villanueva; Kalief Whitfield and Mary Wright.

Police said they seized cash, drugs and a semi-automatic pistol during their investigation.

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