Written by Amanda Luevano
An Inverness man is among more than 30 people who were charged in a large heroin trafficking ring that operated in DuPage and Cook counties, authorities said.
Michael Czysczon, 32, of the 0-50 block of South Roberts Road in Inverness, was charged in the drug sweep.
Twenty-two of the 31 people charged in the sweep appeared in DuPage County court Wednesday morning, according to DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin.
In addition to drug conspiracy and sales charges, 17 individuals were charged with violating the state's new Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law (RICO). Under the law, individuals facing specific charges—such as controlled substance trafficking, as is alleged in this case—will face much stiffer penalties if it can be proven that their individual illegal activities were part of a larger criminal conspiracy involving others and conducted over a period of time.
The sweep was "yet another blow to drug dealers operating in DuPage County,” Berlin said in a statement. “Heroin peddlers are poisoning our communities every day. They ruin families. They cost people financially and in many cases cost people their lives either through overdose or through the violence that inevitably follows drug dealers."
The charges are the result of a six-month investigation by the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office, DuMeg (DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group), the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Illinois State Police (ISP) and more than a dozen local law enforcement agencies, Berlin said.
The investigation began in February after police recovered heroin during a search of a Carol Stream residence, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
During the investigation, police tapped 17 phone lines and spent thousands of hours conducting surveillance.
Police said the investigation led them to dozens of suspects—some of whom are still on the loose—who were responsible for the sale of $2,500 to $3,500 worth of heroin daily.
Authorities allege that Andres Garcia, 26, of Chicago, ran the operation using six cell phones—all of which were wiretapped by detectives. He is accused of distributing kilos of heroin to several lieutenants and a half-dozen major buyers, who sold the drug to customers across Chicago and DuPage County, according to theTribune.
DuPage County has experienced more than 70 heroin overdose deaths in the past 20 months, which averages out to nearly one per week, Berlin said.
"The charges brought against these 31 individuals should serve as a stiff deterrent to drug dealers—if you come to DuPage County, we will find you, you will be arrested and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Berlin said.
Special Agent Jack Riley of the Chicago Field Division of the DEA praised the law enforcement agencies that participated in the sweep.
"People need to wake up and realize that heroin is no longer just an inner-city problem,” Riley said in a statement. “It's here in the suburbs and kids are dying from it. Mexican Cartels are using street gangs to peddle this poison and they don't care what happens to the children or about the violence it breeds in the community.”Complete List of Individuals Charged
- Antoinne Steele, 42, of the 1700 block of North McVicker Avenue, Chicago Steven Phillips, 37, of the 0-50 block of North Lind, Hillside
- Terrance Steele, 35, of the 1600 block of North Parkside, Chicago
- Brandon Brown, 40, of the 5100 block of West St. Paul Avenue, Chicago
- Alvin Dickens, 29, of the 1100 block of North Lorel Avenue, Chicago
- Khristopher Weddington-Hawkins, 27, of the 1100 block of North Lorel Avenue, Chicago
- Antonio Magee, 27, of the 1800 block of South Ridgeway, Chicago
- Jason Savado (age and address not provided)
- Lucia Cummings, 48, of the 2000 block of Scott Street, Melrose Park
- Kevin Jennings, 39, of the 1600 block of North Parkside, Chicago
- Kelly Olmetti, 30, of the 1400 block of North 14th Avenue, Melrose Park
- Michael Czysczon, 32, of the 0-50 block of South Roberts Road, Inverness
- Vanessa Hernandez, 25, of Naperville
- Jonathan Kosloske of Glendale Heights
- Felicia Cortez, 18, of the 3600 block of West Cortland Street, Chicago
- Danielle Dollinger, 28, of the 1200 block of Johnson Drive, Buffalo Grove
- Kiara Landin, 21, of the 1300 block of Brookwood Street, Bensenville
- Rosalie Sanchez of the 5500 block of Wrightwood, Chicago
- Jose Rodriguez of the 5500 block of Wrightwood, Chicago
- Donald Black, 45, of the 1000 block of Brown Street, Evanston
- Rene Covert, 29, of the 5000 block of South Central Basement, Chicago
- Demetrious Massey, 37, of the 1300 block of North Hudson, Chicago
- Joseph Scarpelli, 34, of the 400 block of Goodrich Avenue in Glen Ellyn
- Wendy Scarpelli, 34, of the 400 block of Goodrich Avenue, Glen Ellyn
- Michael Roder, 29, of the 5700 block of Gardner Court, Hanover Park
- Andres Garcia, 26, of the 4900 block of West Concord Place, Chicago
- Juan Reyes, 23, of the 900 block of North Laramie Avenue, Chicago
- Jimmy Serrano, 25, in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago
- Jason Serrano, 28, of the 4000 block of North Kilborn Avenue in Chicago (on electronic monitoring)