Gang team officers from Austin’s 15th District led a pair of raids on locations in Cicero and Berwyn Monday night that targeted a Latin King gang member, reportedly operating in the far south Island neighborhood of Austin. Lt. Paul Kane and other members of the 15th District’s gang team had developed information related to a drug operation that sold cocaine and marijuana in the area bounded by the Eisenhower Expressway and Roosevelt Road, Austin Boulevard to Central Avenue.

Investigators obtained two search warrants, one for an address in the 5600 block of West 23rd Court in Cicero, and the other in the 2700 block of South Ridgeland Avenue in Berwyn. Chicago tactical officers were assisted by units from several suburban departments besides Berwyn and Cicero, including River Forest and Forest Park.

In the Cicero raid, police seized some 16 pounds of cannabis with a street value of $88,000, 56 grams of cocaine valued at $4,800, and an Intertech 9 mm machine pistol. At the second location in Berwyn, police seized a shotgun and .45 caliber handgun, as well as a small quantity of cannibis and $2,800 in suspected drug proceeds.

The Latin King targeted in the warrants was not present at either address Monday night, and is currently being sought by police.

Besides 15th District, Cicero and Berwyn officers, a significant part of the strike force Monday night was comprised of units from River Forest, Forest Park and even Elmwood Park.

While Oak Park units weren’t involved, Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley was enthusiastic about the operation.

“I think it’s great that all these agencies are working to get a handle on not just drugs, but these weapons,” he said.

Tanksley noted that assisting outside police serve a peripheral but essential role, securing the perimeter of operations, and allowing other jurisdictions to execute their warrants in as secure a manner as possible.

The Monday night operations continue a solidifying trend of Chicago and nearby suburban police forces working together to attack a problem that recognizes no borders. Over the past two years, Chicago police in particular have noticed increased cooperation among previously contentious street gangs, at least where drug profits are involved. That, in turn, has led to increased cooperation between police in the city and suburbs.

Previously murderously opposed gangs such as the Black P Stone, several factions of the powerful Vice Lords gang, and such outside gangs as the Latin Kings and Gangster Disciples now frequently grant each other safe passage into neighborhoods in support of each other’s drug operations.

Last October, in response to the continued spillover of gang drug activity and violence into the near western suburbs, Tanksley invited his counterparts from Forest Park, Berwyn, Cicero and Chicago, as well as the Cook County Sheriff and the Illinois State police departments to a meeting at the Oak Park police substation on Austin Boulevard near Harrison. The intent was to form an ad hoc tactical unit that will monitor gang activity throughout those communities.