Chicago police shut down a drug market in the 700 block of North Central Avenue on June 9. The raid is the seventh such operation against open air drug markets in the Austin area this spring. Six of those raids followed local investigations. Since March 16, Chicago police Narcotics and Gang Intelligence Section (NAGIS) officers and 15th District cops have arrested 79 people, issued arrest warrants for dozens more, and seized tens of thousands of dollars in drugs and cash, as well as vehicles.

The other Austin raid was the massive Operation Street Sweeper, a year-long federal investigation that involved over 200 federal and city law enforcement officials. That operation targeted an alleged $50,000-a-day operation led by the Four Corner Hustlers that involved several other street gangs.

Operation Central Station targeted a Black P Stones operation that police say was taking in between $2,300 and $3,000 a day from heroin sales. The investigation started in February, when officers who were investigating drug sales near Chicago Avenue and Latrobe Avenue as part of Operation Stone Cut, noticed that several targets of their surveillance were also selling drugs in the 700 block of North Central. Among the eight reputed Black P Stones charged with Criminal Drug Conspiracy is LaVonte Franklin, 34. Franklin was paroled last November from the Illinois Department of Corrections for one of two drug convictions.

In addition to eight people arrested and six others sought in Central Station, police have charged four more individuals for their involvement with Operation Stone Cut.

?”Bill Dwyer