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Alleged drug dealers busted in southern suburbs

March 31, 2008 12:23:02 PM PDT
Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart announced dozen of arrests Sunday in an effort to rid three south suburbs of drug dealers.The effort by law enforcement officials is being called "Operation Day Shift."

Undercover video shows Cook County Sheriff's Police making a deal with a drug dealer outside of Hazel Crest liquor store last August. Officers traded Nike gym shoes for $40 crack cocaine.

Michael Garfield, 21, was later charged. He is one of 95 suspects arrested in Operation Day Shift.

"Drug sales have gone on for years. Drug sales will continue to go on, but we took a significant chunk out of it in the south suburbs," Dart said.

Dart said his undercover officers focused on morning and afternoon drug sales in Hazel Crest, Ford Heights and Chicago Heights.

"Since the sweep last Monday and Tues when we were looking for 40 individuals, the streets are virtually quiet right now," said Dart.

In all three south suburbs, several undercover deals occurred very close to schools, including one for which 25-year-old Janathan Fultz is charged with making a crack deal as school children walked by.

Sheriff Dart says arresting so many drug dealers saves the communities from more crimes.

"The thing you can never quantify will be the number of drive-by shootings that did not occur or the number of school children that are not shot at," he said.

The sheriff also says the drug dealers are gang members who have shifted their operations from the city to the suburbs. Dart says his goal is to squeeze the gangs out of Cook County suburbs, as well.

"We are going to continue this. The gangbangers and drug dealers will be seeing a lot more of us. So, they'd better get used to it," he said.

Sheriff Dart says in the last four years, violent crime in the south suburbs has gone up by 30 percent.

The police departments in all three suburbs targeted by Operation Day Shift do not have the resources to rid their streets of gangs and drugs, which is why the Cook County Sheriff's department is helping local law enforcement.


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