Police arrest 57 in crackdown on drug dealing

March 30, 2012 4:35:21 AM PDT
Chicago police arrested 57 people Thursday in a crackdown on drug dealing in the Englewood and Harrison districts on the city's South and West sides.

ABC7 got an exclusive look at how police are implementing their latest strategy to combat crime.

Dozens and dozens of times Thursday, Chicago police officers broke down doors, looking for drugs and the people who sell them.

"The term is, it's called the 'fatal funnel' because all 8 to 10 of us have to go through the door, the fatal funnel, to get into the apartment," said Sgt. Andrew Dakuras, Chicago Police Narcotics Unit.

Just some of what officers found: Pot, cocaine, even generic forms of the popular anxiety drug Xanex.

"Drugs, gangs and violence go hand in hand," said Lt. Jose Ramirez, Chicago Police Narcotics Unit. "A lot of times we'll get them in here and they're start talking about murders and shootings."

Back on the street, ABC7 caught up with a team that will hit as many as ten suspected drug houses. Before they went in, they talked about everything from a suspect's propensity for violence to whether kids may be in the home.

Some searches turned up nothing. Others were more volatile.

Either way, the strategy is the same: start low and work your way up a gang's leadership ladder.

Nearly 200 officers carried out arrests Thursday in two of the city's two highest crime neighborhoods. The danger is that with all of the arrests will create a void and the gang's will use violence to try to reclaim turf.

"Having the patrol division and community groups hold down an area is vital because if just arrest drug dealers and take them off the street other people will try to take that void," said Commander James O'Grady, Chicago Police Narcotics Unit.

Violence levels over the next few weeks will be an early indicator of whether the strategy is working.