Nine indicted in heroin bust

 

November 29, 2007

 

NEWS-SUN STAFF REPORT

 

Nine men were indicted Wednesday by a Lake County grand jury on charges related to operating a heroin sales ring in Waukegan .

 

The men are all members of a street gang, and were targeted in "Operation Smack That," a seven-month investigative effort of the Waukegan Police Department and Lake County state's attorney's office.

 

Indicted were Ben S. Gomez, 28 of the 500 block of

Greenwood Ave., Waukegan
; Michael Kroephfl, no information available; Brian Jarrett, no information available; Craig T. Ward, 29 of the 10600 block of
Yorkhouse Road
in Beach Park ; Quincy Ray, 27, no address available.

 

Christopher B. Reese, 21 of the 5000 block of S. Sangamon St., Chicago; Joey Williams, 37 of the 2600 block of Sycamore Dr. in Waukegan,; Quincy Collins, 17 of the 1700 block of McAree Road, Waukegan, and Ktwione D. Webb, 17, of the 900 block of Murfield Ave., Waukegan.

 

Waukegan police have scheduled a press conference for this afternoon on the investigation and arrests, and the gang's operations.

 

Williams is being held in the county jail on a $2 million bond; Ward $500,000; Gomez, Kroephfl, Jarett, Webb and Collins, $250,000; Ray $150,000; and Reese $100,000.

 

Another gang member Anthony M. Riddle, of the 700 block of

Greenwood Ave.
, previously pleaded guilty to heroin-dealing and was sentenced Nov. 21 to 15 years in prison.

 

9 charged in bust of heroin market

 

Sellers targeted youths, officials say

 

| Special to the Tribune

 

November 30, 2007

 

 

A gang of heroin dealers from Chicago who set up shop in Waukegan last spring and specialized in selling drugs to young people has been broken up, police said Thursday.

The dealers moved into Waukegan in April and were doing booming business selling drugs along the west side of

Green Bay Road
's commercial corridor, Waukegan Police Chief William Biang said.

Customers included high school students from all over Lake County and southern Wisconsin , Biang said.

 

Seven members of the group are in custody, two more are being sought and all were indicted this week, Biang said.

"This case is a little different from other drug cases," said Lake County State 's Atty. Michael Waller, who spoke Thursday at a news conference with Biang and other officials. "Generally, police investigate after neighbors complain. This case has a public-health origin. ... We've had overdose deaths from Waukegan to Barrington ."

Waller said one heroin death was caused by drugs purchased from the gang and a second death "probably resulted from sales from this group."

The investigation was launched after the death of a Waukegan man was traced to heroin being sold by the Chicago drug dealers, Biang said.

The market became known among users by word of mouth, Biang said. Buyers who called contacts were directed to meet suppliers at different locations, often parking lots of west-side Waukegan businesses, he said.

The heroin was being sold for about $40 for one-tenth of an ounce, police said.

The nine alleged drug dealers were charged with multiple counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Several were charged with possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

While all nine have Waukegan, Round Lake or Beach Park addresses, all are from Chicago , Biang said. Indicted were:

*Joey Williams, 37, of the 2600 block of

Sycamore Drive, Waukegan
.

*Craig Ward, 27, of the 10000 block of West Yorkhouse Road, Beach Park, who also was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

*Quincy Collins, 17, of the 1700 block of
McAree Road, Waukegan
.

*Ktwione Webb, 17, of the 900 block of
Muirfield Avenue, Waukegan
.

*Quincy Ray, 27, of the 600 block of
North Poplar Street, Waukegan
.

*Christopher Reese, 21, of the 1700 block of
McAree Road, Waukegan
.

*Anthony Riddle, 30, of the 700 block of
Greenwood Avenue, Waukegan
.

*Ben Gomez, 28, of the 500 block of
Greenwood Drive
, Round Lake .

*Malcolm Thornton, 17, of the 900 block of
Muirfield Avenue, Waukegan
.

Gomez and Thornton are not in custody.

Police said there are other drug dealers from Chicago in Waukegan . "We don't have everybody but we're making a big dent," Biang said.

Customers came from all over Lake County , Waukegan Police Sgt. Scott Chastain said. Many users would rent rooms in motels along
Green Bay Road
, but some shot up within minutes of buying heroin, sometimes in the parking lots where a purchase was made, Chastain said.

"We had one in the [ice cream store] parking lot," he said.

Several high school students came to Waukegan to buy heroin, Chastain said. "The kids told us their high schools were infested with this."

Biang said the drug dealers specifically targeted high schoolers.

"The buyers came from Antioch, Woodstock, Grayslake, Twin Lakes , [ Wis. ], and the list goes on," he said. "This is a northern Illinois problem. Heroin has made a big comeback with suburban teenagers."