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FBI agents hit Chicago South and West Side streets to fight gangs

Chicago Police stop men in Little Village on the South Side in July 2014
Chicago Police stop men in Little Village on the South Side in July 2014
Photo by Scott Paulson

For the past week, it is been apparent that something was changing on the streets of Chicago. Evening after evening, night after night, there were parades of Illinois State Police cars traveling around the city – primarily on the main thoroughfares in troubled areas – in packs of three or more. Though they have often been unmarked cars, their license plates and running of red lights and ignoring other traffic laws has made it obvious that these were not citizens behind the wheel. Now it is learned that, in addition to the heavy presence of the Illinois State in the city, according to the Sun-Times on Wednesday, there is more going on.

In addition to the heavy presence of State Police cars being added to the city’s landscape in recent days, federal agents are planning to dispatch 65 FBI agents to the city’s highest-crime areas on the South and West Sides of Chicago. This, of course, is on top of the Chicago Police Department’s and the Cook County Sheriff’s Department vehicular presence. The goal of the FBI’s mission is to fight gang crime. Again, it has been apparent that there has been increased police presence of various types in the past week or so. Now, the FBI will be working specifically with the Chicago Police Department to do gang suppression missions on Thursdays and Fridays.

Though Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago’s Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy have stated that they don’t need more police on the streets – according to sources who spoke with the Sun-Times - it is obvious that sources outside the Chicago Police Department are taking a role in the city’s troubled neighborhoods. Reportedly, the FBI plans to establish intelligence and conduct surveillance on street-corner drug dealers. These actions should lead to somebody else talking, possibly leading to an arrest, and to the ultimate seizure of guns.

A source who spoke with the Sun-Times revealed that authorities have got to go where the problems are and that means working the streets of Chicago’s worst neighborhoods – primarily on the West and South Sides. Just last week, the Chicago Tribune reported that police, accompanied by ATF, caught an alleged longtime heroin and crack dealer. That capture involved the alleged patriarch of a Gangster Disciples gang faction as well as dozens of other persons on the open-air drug market on the city’s West Side. The leader, who was alleged to have been Johnny “Goo” Herndon, 55, is said to have directed the lucrative drug-trafficking organization for some 20 years. He reportedly has obtained substantial real estate holdings with illicit profits.

Hopefully, the parades of official vehicles seen on the main thoroughfares in the past week or so will find their way into the neighborhoods where the gangs most likely are hiding away. Many persons walking and driving the main thoroughfares have been seen stopped by authorities - continuously. Though it’s anyone’s guess, one would think that these are not the locations where the heavy-weight gangsters are spending their time.