Chicago undercover busts not just about drugs

October 18, 2012

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(AP/File)
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy listens to Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is touting the arrest of two dozen drug dealers but the busts aren’t actually about drugs.

The two so-called open air drug markets were around 85th and Commercial on Chicago’s Southeast Side, and Bryn Mawr and Sheridan on the North Side.

James O’Grady, the commander of the narcotics division, says the dealers were targeted by Chicago police not because of drugs, but because of violence.

“It’s always about violence with us,” said O’Grady. “We try to target our investigations in the areas that have spikes in violence.  Our number one thing is to make the community safer so we target areas that are experiencing an increase in violence, shootings. If a child is shot we’re going to put our attention in that location.”

O’Grady says local commanders in the two districts were reporting increases in violence between gangs and requested help from the citywide narcotics team, which is able to do undercover buys and work longer drug investigations.