11 arrested, others sought for dealing drugs near Maywood church

- Authorities arrested 11 people and were searching Wednesday for seven others wanted on arrest warrants alleging they were dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a church in the western suburb.

The Maywood Police Gang and Drug unit, assisted by other law enforcement, executed arrest and search warrants against 17 suspects, many of whom are members of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang, involved in the delivery of a controlled substance in the vicinity of 12th Avenue and Madison Street in Maywood, according to a release from Maywood police.

The charges come after a four month investigation, called "Operation Four Piece," into an "open-air drug market" operating in that area, which is within 1,000 feet of a church, the release said.

State-of-the-art audio/video and surveillance equipment was used to capture drug dealers selling drugs to undercover police, according to the release. Some of the video depicts children playing in the background, according to sources.

According to the release, warrants charged the following Maywood residents with delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church and other drug related charges: Vernon Bailey, 50, of 1208 W. Madison St.; Rodgerick O'Neal, 19, of 827 S. 12th Ave.; Alfonzo J. Matthews, 24, of 1015 S. 13th Ave.; Tyrone Carter, 22, of 822 S. 13th Ave.; Deon Clay, 20, of 1014 W. Madison St.; Jason L. Johnson, 20, of 1404 Madison St.; Travale Robinson, 18, of 910 W. Washington Blvd.; Sean Dunston, 18, of 221 S. 13th Ave.; Burnell C. Griffin, 18, of 633 S. 12th Ave.; Charles Canada, 17, of 148 S. 10th Ave.; Terrell Watkins, 18, of 409 S. 14th Ave.; Scottisha Murphy, 18, of 827 S. 12th Ave.; Tianna Smith, 21, of 827 S. 12th Ave.; and Clifford D. Johnson, 17, of 832 S. 11th Ave. Also charged is Christopher Allen, 18 of 4021 W. Madison St. in Bellwood, and two 16-year-old juveniles.

Bonds ranging from $150,000 to $1.3 million were set on the arrest warrants, according to Cook County State's Attorney's office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

Authorities arrested Bailey, O'Neal, Robinson, Dunston, Canada, Murphy, Watkins, Smith, Clifford D. Johnson and one juvenile on Wednesday, according to Maywood police. Also arrested was Jeramie H. Embry, 20, 1014 W. Madison St. in Maywood, but the release does not list him as being among the suspects sought on an arrest warrant. Police continued searching for the remaining suspects as of about 6:15 p.m.

Simonton said those arrested are slated to appear in the Maywood Courthouse on Thursday morning.

If convicted, delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church carries a penalty of four to 15 years in prison, and there is no parole, according to Simonton.

The Maywood Police Gang and Narcotics Unit executed the warrants in conjunction with the Cook County Sheriff's Police Gang Unit, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office Narcotics Strike Force, Illinois State Police SWAT and Gang Unit, and the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force, the release said.

Sun-Times News Group Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2006