Pubdate: Fri, 28 Apr 2006
Source: Daily Herald (IL)
Copyright: 2006 The Daily Herald Company
Author:  Tony Gordon
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Note: MAP archives articles exactly as published, except that our 
editors may redact the names and addresses of accused persons who 
have  not been convicted of a crime, if those named are not otherwise 
public  figures or officials.


Lake County law enforcement took out a huge broom Thursday and swept 
up a number of accused drug dealers.

Operation Spring Cleaning launched just after 5:30 a.m., as 153 
officers from 24 agencies hit the streets with several goals.

Police were seeking to serve 100 outstanding arrest warrants for drug 
violations. In addition, several search warrants resulted in arrests 
in new cases, and parolees were checked for possible violations.

Sheriff Gary Del Re and Mark Rasmussen, director of the Lake County 
Metropolitan Enforcement Group, said the activities were part of 
similar efforts across the country to draw attention to the need for 
more federal funding for regional task forces such as MEG.

Rasmussen said cash made available under the Edward Byrne Memorial 
Justice Assistance Grants has been dwindling in recent years and is 
set to be eliminated in 2007. Lake County MEG gets around $300,000 
per year to help pay its 28 agents and buy equipment.

"The Byrne grant money is absolutely critical to our operation," he 
said. "We average about 500 cases a year that result in 550 arrests, 
and the loss of $300,000 from our annual budget will severely hamper 
our operations."

Del Re said Lake County is a model for the success of regional police 
operations, with MEG, the Major Crimes Task Force and similar efforts 
to combat gangs and auto theft as examples.

"The regional approach to fighting crime works, and we have years of 
compiled evidence to show that here," he said.

By late Thursday, 38 people had been taken into custody, according to 
MEG Deputy Director Keith Fredrick.

That included [Name redacted], 40, wanted for failure to appear in 
court on a felony drug possession charge.

Ten officers gathered near [Name and address redacted], Ingleside, 
just after 10:30 a.m. to plan their approach to take him into custody.

Armed with a battering ram to open locked doors, police swarmed the 
house and found [Name redacted] and an angry pit bull in the backyard.

While one officer kept the chained dog covered with a Taser, others 
wrestled [Name redacted] to the ground and arrested him. [Name 
redacted] was in possession of two small bags of crack cocaine, 
another small bag of marijuana and around $600, police said. Charges 
are pending.

Officers from the state Department of Corrections were seeking 
parolees. They were taken to the sheriff's substation in Libertyville 
for drug and alcohol urine screenings and for interviews with a panel 
of officers.

Rasmussen said the interviews were designed to collect information 
about the current state of crime in the county.

"We want to know anything these guys are willing to tell us," he 
said. "We are looking for information about where the tainted heroin 
might be coming from, who is selling what kinds of drugs and anything 
else that may be out there."

All the arrested suspects were taken to the Waukegan courthouse for 
bond hearings.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman