9 facing drug charges in South Side sting

By Angela Rozas
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 31, 2007

A sign in the window declared that anybody loitering on the porch would be considered trespassing.

"We call police," the sign read.

But it was a ruse, an attempt to cover up an open-air drug market that used the home in the 2000 block of East 93rd Street as one of its bases, and in front of which dozens of drug deals were made, Chicago police said Wednesday in announcing drug conspiracy charges against nine men.

Dubbed "Operation 4th-N-Goal," the four-month investigation conducted by the police narcotics and gang investigation section and officers from the South Chicago District focused on gang members and dealers around 93rd Street between Chappel and Paxton Avenues.

Undercover narcotics officers made 23 buys from dealers in the area. In many cases, the dealers would get into the officers' cars and force them to drive around, looking for police, before making the drug sale and jumping out of the car, said Lt. Eric Carter of the narcotics unit. The work was risky for the officers, and one officer was robbed, Carter said.

On May 24, police arrested seven of the men alleged to be involved, and police issued warrants for two others, Duryea Wright, 26, and Clarence Odell, 27, Carter said.

All of the men are alleged gang members, and seven of them were charged with criminal drug conspiracy, which carries a minimum of 6 years in prison if convicted.

The operation started in late December after police received numerous calls about drug activity in the area, which is near four schools, District Cmdr. Dana Alexander said.

"You would see children out, trying to have a normal life," Alexander said. "And they're playing amidst the narcotics sales taking place."

The operation marked the 14th open-air drug market shut down this year, police said.