The arrests came as Mayor Lori Lightfoot prepares to keep the city safe over the holiday weekend.
On the eve of Independence Day the lakefront was illuminated. After storms canceled part of Sunday's Pride Parade, there's a weather plan in place for Navy Pier.
"Navy Pier can hold about 60,000 people, and they can all shelter in place at Navy Pier within the confines of the pier itself," said Rich Guidice, executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communication.
"I feel like we suffer through super long winters, and then, I don't know, you look up and one day and it's just beautiful<' said Angel Woods, who was visiting Navy Pier.
With the city teeming with energy, more than 1,500 additional police officers will be on patrol for the holiday weekend, both in uniform and plainclothes. They won't just be out in popular spots in the city, like the lakefront, but also in neighborhoods. Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he will have a team in place to follow the action as needed, as well.
WATCH: Mayor Lightfoot outlines 4th of July holiday safety plan
"Our first goal of the weekend is the safety of our family and our residents, that's why over the next few days we'll be all hands on deck," Lightfoot said. "We've been preparing for these 4th of July festivities for some time."
Police are focused on transit hubs, with cops riding trains and buses, as well as on the Mag Mile and busy lakefront beaches. Additional police boats will also be on patrol.
WATCH: Supt. Eddie Johnson unveils CPD's 4th of July holiday safety plan
In neighborhoods affected by recent shootings, police are deploying more undercover officers.
In the Austin neighborhood on the city's West Side, every liquor store has agreed to close early Thursday in an effort to keep the community safe.
Out and about this evening with members of @TheHopeCity Church in the Austin community. No matter which zip code you live in, we are each other’s business. https://t.co/qxHrdTdL66 #OurCityOurSafety pic.twitter.com/GubASq7KiQ— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 4, 2019
Memorial Day weekend was CPD's first big test under Lightfoot's administration. Seven people were killed and more than 30 injured in shootings that weekend. She is hoping for better results this holiday weekend.
Residents of the city's neighborhoods, however, said it's going to take more than adding officers to the streets to change holiday crime numbers.
"Chicago, we have to give our children a fair shot at life. We have to give them a chance and the only way we can do that is by stopping the violence and putting the guns down," said Joseph Williams of Mr. Dad's Fathers Club.
In addition to the arrests, nearly a dozen weapons were recovered as part of Operation Independence conducted by CPD's Organized Crime Bureau, the spokesman said Wednesday morning.
It was part of a series of three take-downs focused in the Area Central, South and North Detective Divisions. They started about a month ago.
BREAKING - #ChicagoPolice Organized Crime Bureau has completed a pre-holiday gun and drug takedown. 77 people have been arrested and nearly a dozen weapons recovered in Operation Independence. A media briefing will be held this morning at 11a @ CPD HQ. pic.twitter.com/SYGF0oE8R2— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) July 3, 2019
Police said they nabbed a high level target at 4250 South Princeton who they're identifying as a notorious gang leader and convicted murderer. Police said they pursued some of the most dangerous criminals in the city.
"When we conduct these operations, we don't want the low level guys that are selling the drugs on the street corner, we want the guys that are calling the shots," said Chicago Deputy Chief Anthony Riccio. "A lot of the times the people calling the shots for the narcotics dealing are the same guys calling the shots for the shootings and the violence, so those are the people that we want to target."
The announcement comes after more violence in Chicago, leaving three women wounded in two separate shootings.
A 26-year-old woman was wounded in a drive-by shooting at about 2:33 a.m. in the 3100-block of West Madison in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.
Police said the woman was standing in the street when someone inside a blue minivan fired shots, wounded her in the arm. The woman was transported to Norwegian Hospital in good condition.
The other shooting occurred at about 12:29 a.m. in the 8700-block of South Ada in the Gresham neighborhood. Two women, ages 30 and 38, were walking when they were shot by a man, who was also on foot, police said.
The 30-year-old woman was shot in the torso and transported to Advocate Christ Hospital in stable condition, police said. The 38-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the abdomen and transported herself to Advocate Christ Hospital.
No one is in custody in connection with either shooting.