Updated: February 2, 2013 7:02PM
Police arrested 43 people and seized illegal drugs with an estimated street value of $23,000 during a series of raids around the city Thursday and Friday.
Narcotics officers conducted three sweeps over the two days, targeting gang-controlled drug markets in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, among others, according to a release from Chicago Police.
“These investigations are targeting the gang and narcotics activity that are the root cause of the violence affecting too many of our communities,” Supt. Garry McCarthy said in a statement. “Everyday our officers are on the street going after gangs, guns and drugs, and we will continue to do so to make this a safer city.”
The police action comes as McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been under increased scrutiny to crack down on crime following the murder of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton last week. Police believe Pendleton was the unintended target of a shooter who fired into a crowd, believing he was shooting at rival gang members at Harsh Park on the South Side. Pendleton was with her volleyball team at the time of the shooting, authorities said.
The mass arrests were spurred by recent violence, targeting what police refer to as “entrenched drug markets” operated by the Gangster Disciples street gang, according to the release.
On Thursday 12 people were arrested and charged in connection with a gang-controlled market at East 63rd Street and South King Drive, the release states. Prior to the arrests, police made a number of drug-buys from gang members in the area.
During the Grand Crossing sweep police seized over $4,000 and $10,000 worth of crack, cocaine and heroin, the release states
Also on Thursday police arrested and charged 12 in the Rogers Park Neighborhood who were involved in the sale of heroin, marijuana, crack and cocaine near the 1500 block of West Morse Avenue, the release states.
Police say the North Side crackdown targeted an area where there have been reports of narcotics-related violence. Drugs worth $8,000 were seized, in addition to cash and two vehicles.
A third raid was conducted Friday near East 43rd Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue. Police arrested 19 people who were charged with various drug violations. Cash, a vehicle and $5,000 in drugs were seized during the sweep, according to police.