Merely five days after apprehending an armed gunman while off-duty, 15th District Commander Alfonzo Wysinger had returned to work.
“I came back last Thursday,” said Wysinger, who arrested an alleged gang member while visiting his grandmother on her 80th birthday, June 23. Wysinger admits the incident was unexpected but adds, “In this business, you must expect the unexpected.”
He says he will likely testify at the trial of 26-year-old Augueste Burton once a date has been set.
Now back in command, Wysinger held a press conference on Monday, July 2, to address the department’s “Operation Angel Trumpet Narcotics Program.” The program was launched by the Narcotics and Gang Investigation Sector (NAGIS) of the Chicago Police Department in conjunction with the 15th District police station on April 11.
At the time, there had been several complaints from residents and teachers at or near John Hay Academy, 1018 N. Laramie Ave., about ongoing drug-related activity taking place in the general vicinity of the school.
“It’s just a total lack of respect,” said Wysinger. “They were actually using the school as a cover for their trafficking, and were conducting their drug activities around school grounds, during schools hours, and it needed to be handled swiftly and efficiently.”
There was a meeting regarding the trafficking. Among those who aided in designing a plan of response were Wysinger, Sgt. Elaine McKinney and Lt. Peter Piazza. The task force organized strategically placed surveillance vans to capture the activity barely 100 yards away from playgrounds, jungle gyms and mothers pushing strollers. Undercover officers made 15 purchases, including one for 1.8 grams of heroin.
The sting went on for 2 1/2 months. Then, once enough footage had been gathered, they presented their case to the State’s Attorney and warrants were approved. It was time to make the bust.
“We captured one at his home, another while crossing the playground near where he was working,” said Lt. Piazza of the June 27 roundup, which placed an “out of business” sign on the corner’s drug sales for now. “It seemed like a slow process, but we need to build the case and make sure that when we are ready to make arrests, we capture and indict the right people. We want to assure that when they are convicted, they stay there.”
Through the sting, the CPD and 15th District police station identified eight suspects. Of those, they have captured four, including two juveniles, age 15 and 16. Each will be charged with Delivery of a Controlled Substance. The other two will be charged with Criminal Drug Conspiracy, a much harsher offense, for which, if convicted, they could face a minimum of six years with no possibility of parole. All eight suspects had established ties to the Black P Stones street gang.
“I want to thank the community for their courage in reporting to me and my office what had been going on on that block so we could put a stop to it,” said 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts to the community residents at the conference. “I also want to thank Commander Wysinger for being available during the evening hours so that I can convey to him the issues that you are facing in your area in regards to criminal activity. We need to know the right targets to strike and, working together, we can do that.”