Feds Bust $8,500-A-Day Drug Ring At Cabrini Green
DECEMBER 18, 2007
CHICAGO (STNG) ― An alleged gang member and leader of a high-volume narcotics operation in the Cabrini Green housing development on the Near North Side was arrested by federal authorities Tuesday and charged with trafficking, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Rondell Freeman, alleged member of the Gangster Disciples, was arrested as part of a joint investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Chicago police and the IRS, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office.
Freeman allegedly headed up a high-volume drug organization that controlled much of the crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana sales in the Cabrini Green Homes at
714 W. Division St. According to the criminal complaint, his trafficking organization operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week and brought in a minimum of $8,500 per day.
Freeman, aka "Fall" and "Nightfall," 31, of Chicago and other Gangster Disciples -- a total of 16 were being sought by ATF and IRS agents -- were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine in a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday, according to the release. They were to appear in U.S. District Court at 2 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier.
The two-year joint investigation involved extensive video, audio and visual surveillance of the organization as it prepared and packaged drugs in a condo unit located on Sheridan Road; numerous wiretapped phone calls; search warrants; and cooperating sources who made controlled purchases of crack cocaine, the release said. The investigation ended this morning when ATF and IRS agents together with police began arresting 16 targets of the investigation.
According to the complaint, Freeman and others prepared and packaged crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana at a one-bedroom condo in the Sheridan Shores Complex at
5740 N. Sheridan Rd.During a court-authorized search of the condo, agents seized crack cocaine and heroin, as well as other drug paraphernalia. Several guns, narcotics and records of drug-trafficking activity were also seized during the course of the investigation.
The affidavit also states that Freeman and others were recorded by agents during wiretapped phone calls discussing the sale of narcotics and use of violence against individuals selling drugs at 1230 N. Burling, according to the affidavit.
The alleged co-conspirators supplied Freeman with drugs, helped prepare and package drugs, sold drugs, collected and counted money, and served as lookouts for police, the affidavit alleges. They include Robert Freeman, Clint Linzy, Terrence Sewell, Brian Wilbourn, Robert Freeman, Senecca Williams, Reginald Booker, Syble Mcclutchey, Daniel Hill, Lance Olden, Deshawn Simmons, Marcell Thomas, Darnell Williams and Demarquius Williams.
If convicted, each faces 10 years to life in prison without parole, and fines of up to $4 million, the release said.
Federal authorities charge 16 in drug ring at Cabrini-Green led by alleged gang member
| Tribune staff reporter
December 19, 2007
Federal authorities moved against another street gang Tuesday, charging 16 people and derailing the Gangster Disciples' stranglehold on drug dealing at the Cabrini-Green public housing development.
The organization sold crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana around the clock, making more than $3 million a year, authorities said at a news conference. The ring allegedly operated near a school, from one of the last buildings at Cabrini-Green.
Agents and officers fanned out before dawn to arrest Rondell "Nightfall" Freeman, the alleged ring leader and a longtime Gangster Disciple, as well as others, authorities said.
"It's a season of giving, so our gift to the people up there, the good people, is to let them live now where they live without the constant fear of this drug organization all around them," said Andy Traver, special agent in charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Chicago.
"And our gift to Rondell Freeman and his organization is 10 to life," said Traver, referring to the prison sentence they face if convicted of conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine.
The ATF was assisted by agents from the Internal Revenue Service and Chicago police officers. IRS leaders said steps would be taken to confiscate proceeds from the organization, which allegedly had been in operation for almost a decade.
Freeman, 31, of Chicago , and the other 15 defendants -- drug sellers, supervisors, lookouts, suppliers and packagers -- were each charged with drug conspiracy. Five were considered fugitives late Tuesday.
The ring originally operated out of a building at
714 W. Division St., prosecutors said, and then moved several years ago to
1230 N. Burling St.when the first building was phased out. As part of the city's plan to transform public housing, the Chicago Housing Authority has demolished several of the high-rises at Cabrini-Green.
To try to thwart law enforcement, the ring packaged drugs at a location on
Sheridan Roadin Chicago, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Rachel Cannon.
Investigators worked on the case for two years, gathering extensive video, audio and visual surveillance of top players and a wealth of evidence from the garbage outside the
Sheridan Roadpackaging site, authorities said.
"We found baggies with cocaine and heroin residue," said First Assistant U.S. Atty. Gary Shapiro. "We found antihistamines, which were used to cut the drugs. We found latex gloves with Freeman's fingerprints and we found records believed to be some of the drug ledgers of Freeman's operation."