Police bust W. Side heroin ring

Chicago Sun-Times,  May 10, 2001  by FRANK MAIN

A major heroin ring has been broken up on the West Side in an investigation launched after a gang kingpin's murder last year, police announced Wednesday.

"Operation Hill Street Blues II" netted the arrests of alleged supplier Reginald Smith, 29, and his leaders, Marco Smith, 23, and Marcus Johnson, 23, as well as 17 other suspects, said Eugene Williams, commander of the narcotics unit.

Police said they seized two Range Rovers, a Mercedes and other luxury vehicles, a pair of Jet Skis, fur coats, computers, more than $9,000 of heroin, $111,500 cash and at least 14 guns, which they displayed Wednesday.

The suspects were charged with criminal drug conspiracy and face at least six years in prison if convicted. The North Lawndale drug ring is suspected of pulling in at least $3 million a year, Williams said.

The investigation was launched after the Sept. 29 slaying of Elbert "Pierre" Mahone, a Conservative Vice Lords leader who drove through the neighborhood in a Rolls-Royce.

The following week, aldermen and ministers held a press conference outside Penn Elementary calling on police to crack down on gang violence in the neighborhood.

Police today are expected to announce conspiracy arrests of suspects in a South Side drug ring under the same Distressed Neighborhoods Program.