The Chicago Police Department used undercover detectives to make drug buys and surveillance cameras to record the transactions in a major crackdown on street drug trafficking.

The sweep also gathered in prostitutes and their customers as part of the campaign to reduce offenses in a high-crime area.

Operation “Ten-Tre” targeted an open-air drug market operated by members of the Gangster Disciples street gang. “Ten-Tre” is gang lingo for 103rd Street, the area where gang members concentrated their activities.

Police began the mission in January, using video surveillance and undercover buys to build a criminal drug conspiracy case against 20 offenders, five of them juveniles.

The investigation and arrests also brought down a Chicago kingpin, Joseph Perry, 28, a repeat offender currently on parole for narcotics violations.

Police followed up Operation “Ten-Tre” with an overnight prostitution sting in the same area, making 12 arrests and impounding vehicles.

“When residents come forward to tell us about crime in their neighborhoods, we want them to know that the Chicago Police Department will use every resource available to go after the drug dealers, prostitutes and other criminals that make their community unsafe,” said District Commander Sidney Kelly.

Department officials said Operation Ten-Tre is the latest in a series of successful street-corner conspiracy cases, which targeted entire organizations that operate open-air drug markets.

Chicago launched its streetcorner conspiracy initiative five years ago in an effort to dismantle open-air drug markets from the top down.

Investigators have stepped up their efforts in recent months as part of an initiative to reduce violence by disrupting gangs and their narcotics operations.

In the last six months, Chicago police have dismantled 12 open-air drug markets, leading to the arrests of more than 160 known dealers.

Copyright Washington Crime News Service Jun 17, 2004

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