The national wave of law enforcement crackdowns on gang activity continues. There have been mass busts of suspected gang members in New York City, Detroit and California, recently. Naturally, the-powers-that-be in Chicago (the birthplace of urban gangs in America) would get in on the action. Following the recent arrests of 70 suspected gangbangers and shuttering of several business, the authorities in the Chi arrested 140 suspected West Side gang members in the “largest raid in recent history,” according to Chicago PD chief spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
The bust commenced at 4 AM on Thursday morning in the Harrison and Austin districts, on Chi-Town’s West Side. The targets were members of the Traveling Vice Lords and Four Corner Hustlers. More specifically, all but 23 those arrested appear on the Chicago PD’s “strategic subject list,” according to the Chicago Tribune. On Friday, Superintendent Eddie Johnson explained, “We know there are 1,300-1,400 individuals in the city of Chicago that are driving most of our violence.”
Johnson said bust, the third major gang sweep this year, targeted people in the West Side’s Harrison and Austin Districts that police believe are more likely to be involved in gun violence. More than half of the arrested were charged with selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, but police did not immediately divulge the full list of charges.
The police seized 23 guns and $45,000 in heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and weed. Of the 140 arrested, 136 have been charged with felonies and four were slapped with misdemeanors. Ninety-five of the apprehended are documented gang members. Johnson says that another 31 people are still to be arrested. “Those individuals need to know that if they don’t choose to take an alternative lifestyle then we’ll bring everything we have at our disposal, including our federal partners to come at them to put the weight of the Chicago Police Department on them to stop them from driving the violence in our city,” he said.
On the bright side, six of those arrested were spared jail time through a CPD drug treatment pilot program launched in April. Most of the participants have been struggling with heroin addiction for 20 to 30 years, according to the Tribune. A total of eight individuals were offered the diversion program, but two declined. One woman claimed to fear that she would be fired from her job.