24 West Side Gang Members Arrested in “Operation Full Circle,”

(Sun Times Wire) Two dozen gang members, some of them high-ranking, are facing federal charges, as part of an operation targeting wholesale drug trafficking on the West Side, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced Friday.

The investigation, dubbed “Operation Full Circle,” targeted members of the Black P-Stones Nation and the Wicked Town faction of the Traveling Vice Lords, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr., on Friday described the bust as part of a “long-term investigation.”

“It is critical for the people of Chicago to know, especially during challenging times, … that we have a committed team of federal, state and local law enforcement officers and prosecutors who work together to help keep the people of Chicago safe,” Lausch said, talking to reporters outside the Dirksen Federal Building.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, who was also at Friday’s news conference, issued a warning to gang members who have “terrorized” West Side communities.

“We will find you and we will bring you to justice,” Brown said. “West Side, we hear your pain. West Side, we hear your cry.”

Indictments in the case allege federal gun, drug and money laundering offenses as well as murder-for-hire charges, prosecutors said.

The operation led to the seizure of 34 guns, 6.7 kilograms of heroin, 17 kg of cocaine, more than a kilogram of fentanyl, 50 grams of crack cocaine, 200 pounds of marijuana and more than $1.3 million in cash and jewelry allegedly purchased with drug money.

James Harris, 51, of Berkley; Patrick Turner, 52, of Bellwood; Gregory Hopkins, 50, of Chicago; Larnell Pillow, 51, of Chicago; Rickey Griffin, 51, of South Holland; Eric Berger, 53, of Chicago; and Reginald Richmond, 29, of Sunrise Terrace, are all charged in a single indictment that accuses them of distributing “wholesale quantities of heroin and cocaine” on the West Side, prosecutors said.

Harris was wearing a Chicago Transit Authority uniform when he was arrested in April, prosecutors said. But investigators said Friday they had no information about whether Harris was in fact a CTA employee. The transit agency didn’t immediately respond to a request about whether Harris had worked for the CTA.

Federal officials also revealed that the murder-for-hire charges filed against Deshawn Morgan, Darius Murphy and Demond Brown last year were part of the same investigation.
Other defendants charged as part of the investigation include:

• Donald Lee, 47, of Chicago, charged with gun offenses;
• Jamar Spencer, 34, of Chicago, charged with gun and drug offenses;
• Terrence Jenkins, 52, of Chicago, charged with gun offenses;
• Creavon Curry, 25, charged with gun offenses;
• Larry Jones, 39, of Broadview, charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin;
• Marsha Fountain, 48, of Plainfield, charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin;
• Enrique Fuentes-Ortiz, 45, of Chicago, charged with gun and drug offenses;
• Deshon George, 26, of Chicago, charged with gun offenses;
• Dante Dockett, 42, of Chicago, charged with gun offenses;
• Derrius Burns, 27, of Chicago, charged with gun offenses;
• Daniel Cerpa, 41, of Elmhurst, charged with fentanyl and heroin trafficking;
• Wilfredo Gomez, 48, of Chicago, charged with fentanyl and heroin trafficking;
• Marshawn Ranson, 40, of Chicago, charged with fentanyl trafficking and money laundering; and
• Jesse Ochoa, 38, of Chicago, charged with drug offenses.

The weapons, drug and money laundering charges in the various indictments carry maximum sentences of 10 years to life in prison, while the murder-for-hire charges carry mandatory life sentences with a possibility to pursue the death penalty, prosecutors said.

Article Org: Chicago.suntimes.com

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