Open-Air Drug Market Shut Down in Chicago

Estimated $5,000 in Crack Cocaine Sales Per Day

A three-month investigation that started in February 2007 by the NAGIS (Narcotics and Gang Investigation Section) Squad A-5 has shut down an open-air drug market in the Washington Park area located in Chicago after numerous complaints from the community surfaced

The open-air drug market was located in the area between 4800 - 5400 South Prairie Avenue to Martin Luther King Drive. The market which was controlled by the Gangster Disciples were being observed for nearly three months before the bust was made. While Squad A-5 had been observing the narcotics sales, a total of 2 undercover sales occurred, the Chicago Police reported.

During the bust, Squad A-5 seized five vehicles, three hand guns, 51 grams of crack cocaine, and 14 grams of Cannabis. An estimation of over $5,000 dollars in "crack" cocaine sales were revealed per day during the operation as well. Out of the 28 offenders Squad A-5 was seeking, 16 of them have been arrested while the other 12 have been issued warrants.

The 17 charges that are being filed against the offenders are 17 charges of criminal drug conspiracy, seven charges of delivery of a controlled substance, three charges for possession of a controlled substance, one charge of possession of cannabis within 1000 feet of a playground, church, or school, the Chicago Police stated.

According to the DEA Briefs & Backgrounds, in Illinois there is currently 14 drug courts in existence. They are hoping for one more if additional funds are available. The drug courts are administered by the States Attorney's Office. Major drugs that are a problem in Illinois are : cocaine, methamphetamine, club drugs (ecstasy, GHB, PCP, ketamine), Marijuana and pharmaceutical drugs (Vicadin, Oxy Contin).

2nd District Commander Lynette Helm stated, "the community should see a difference in their quality of life as they walk down the street and shop at the business locations that are located 51st Street". Operation Rock Bottom has shut down 15 open-air markets this year alone. In 2006, police in Chicago shut down 56 open-air markets which included 598 arrests.