A police raid in the southwest suburbs Tuesday netted 200 grams of cocaine, 31 guns—including what appears to be World War II-era machine gun—and the arrests of 16 people, many of whom are suspected gang members, the Will County state’s attorney’s office said.
More than 100 law enforcement agents from federal and local levels descended on the city of Joliet in after a months-long operation that did not target a specific gang, authorities said. Charges in the case range from gunrunning to drug dealing. Five of the 16 people arrested were charged with being armed habitual criminals, the state’s attorney said.
“Multi-jurisdictional sweeps like the one conducted today greatly expand the ability of law enforcement to defuse gang activity while taking illegal weapons and narcotics off our streets,” said Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow in a statement. “We work closely with our local police agencies on a daily basis to keep our neighborhoods safe. But the participation of federal agencies like ATF puts significant additional resources and manpower into the mix and lets drug dealers and gun traffickers know without question that we mean business.”
In photos shared by the state’s attorney’s office, a cache of handguns, rifles and what appears to be a belt-fed .30 caliber machine gun, commonly used by the US military in World War II, were on display after the raid.
The state’s attorney’s office did not immediately respond to further inquiries about the antique weapon.
The operation was conducted by the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Joliet Police Department, the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The police will work with other agencies to target those involved in gun and drug trafficking in the city, Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said in a statement.
“We will continue to work together to improve the safety of our citizens,” he said.
Las May, an unrelated joint taskforce raid in McHenry yielded a similar illegal bounty of weapons—including a .50 caliber machine gun.