Feds, Chicago Police Bust Major West Side Drug Ring; Maywood, Other Western Suburbs, Could Feel Effects

Road to ruin(Public Cofficials have tried various tactics to slow heroin sales along a stretch of Interstate 290, known as the “heroin highway,” because it’s easy to score drugs in the neighborhoods that border it. Caption by chicagoreporter.com. Photo by Lucio Villa.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014 

Last month, a joint task force busted major figures in organization supplying drugs along I-290 Eisenhower Expressway, also known as ‘Heroin Highway’

Originally published: June 13, 2014 || By David Schaper, National Public Radio

Authorities say they’ve broken up a major heroin and crack cocaine distribution ring in Chicago.

A joint federal and local task force that includes the DEA, FBI, Chicago police and other law enforcement agencies arrested and charged more than two dozen gang members who allegedly supplied a significant amount of heroin to customers coming from the city and suburbs.

The increasingly easy availability and lower street cost of heroin has led to a surge of heroin abuse not only in the Chicago area but in many parts of the country. Court documents associated with Thursday’s bust show how readily accessible the drug can be and give a glimpse into gang culture in Chicago, a city with a notoriously bad street gang problem.

Among those arrested Thursday was 47-year-old Kenneth Shoulders, also known as Kenny Shannon, who federal prosecutors say is a high-ranking leader of the Conservative Vice Lords street gang.

According to federal prosecutors, Shoulders controlled the drug trade in a 12-block area on Chicago’s West Side, just off what’s known as the “heroin highway” — the I-290 Eisenhower Expressway.

Authorities say Shoulders’ operation used several stash houses as distribution centers and corners as retail locations to sell heroin quickly to customers getting off the expressway. Those customers, many of them from the western suburbs, could exit, pay at one location, pick up the heroin at another and be back on the expressway in a matter of minutes, as if it were a fast-food drive-through.

In making the arrests, authorities also seized several weapons — including an AR-15 assault rifle — approximately $140,000 in cash, nearly a half-kilogram of heroin and some cocaine.

Also among the 27 people arrested and charged Thursday by federal and local authorities were Shoulders’ 49-year-old sister, Sandra “Penny” Shoulders, and his 29-year-old son, Kenneth Williams, aka “Lil’ Kenny.”

While Kenneth Shoulders reportedly controlled all Vice Lord members in the area known as “12th Street,” prosecutors say he controlled the drug operation by forming a new faction called the 12th Street Vice Lords, which included members of other gangs and gang factions, including the Traveling Vice Lords, the Black Souls Nation, the New Breed and the Gangster Disciples street gangs.

Chicago has seen spikes in shootings in recent years in certain neighborhoods where gangs have splintered and rival factions engage in disputes, some of them interpersonal, such as in atragic shooting two weeks ago in which a 58-year-old special education teacher was killed by a stray bullet.

Authorities say they’ve also seen a recent trend of gangs aligning to form new drug-dealing factions when it is lucrative to do so.

But just as the gangs pulled together to corner the drug market, so, too, did law enforcement. Authorities recently created a Chicago Strike Force, in which several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies team up to combat gangs, drugs and gun violence.

“The bad guys, they really plan, hope, that law enforcement doesn’t talk to each other; cops don’t talk to cops, that we don’t connect the dots, that we don’t share information,” said Jack Riley, special agent-in-charge of the Chicago office of the DEA. “That is really the foundation of the strike force.

“We are working together, both here in the city and on a regional basis, because this is truly the new face of organized crime.

“It’s another great day for the good guys in Chicago,” Riley added. VFP

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3 thoughts on “Feds, Chicago Police Bust Major West Side Drug Ring; Maywood, Other Western Suburbs, Could Feel Effects

  1. Great job! Please keep up the good work. Drug busts need to occur at least twice a week and the more dealers that are rounded up the better, safer alot of neighborhoods will be.

    1. Get ’em- I saw what was happening in these neighborhoods. Drugs will never end.Why? Because our government doesn’t want them to. These neighborhoods are treated like pest control. They don’t want to eliminate the drugs. They want to keep them under control. Drugs are allowed to enter those neighborhoods. Who cares about the locals? Government doesn’t want them leaving into “nice” neighborhoods. Don’t believe me? The people dealing know what’s happening.
      They don’t mind. They’re given permission to use in exchange to snitch.

  2. Want to know what’s really happening? This story is stretching the truth a bit.
    A prostitute/dealer from that neighborhood once mentioned to me:
    “Look at all the drugs in these neighborhoods. Do you think these people have submarines sneaking this stuff in? These people don’t even have cars. This stuff is let in. THERE’S A LOT OF MONEY TO BE MADE IN THE GHETTO WITH DRUGS.”

    I lived in one of these drug infested neighborhoods mentioned in the article. EVERYONE WAS DEALING! Even the POLICE got caught dealing drugs.

    -Prostitutes were having sex with the town mayor.
    -Prostitutes were having sex/doing drugs with police.
    -It was beyond an epidemic, it was THE NORM.

    I met countless number of prostitutes who dealt drugs for the DEA. They were allowed to use drugs in exchange to snitch. One prostitute told me that 90% of the girls/guys on the streets distributing drugs were snitches.

    1. They use the ghetto to contain drugs.
    2. They don’t want the drugs entering the nicer neighborhoods. They’re basically “bait neighborhoods.”
    3. They have street teams of people following known addicts/dealers around… just to IN HOPES TO BUST DEALERS.”

    When there’s too many suburbanites heading towards the ghetto to buy, that’s when government distributes TAINTED drugs on the streets. How do I know this?
    I lived it.
    I seen it.
    I’ve met prostitutes who lived in fear of repercussions from government forcing them to distribute poisoned drugs.
    Stories of overdoses deter users from heading towards these ghettos to purchase.
    Give it a few months and it’ll be back to normal.
    The SAME people who are telling you to “Just say no” are busy pumping the drugs on the streets to find/create dealers. There’s LOTS of money to be made in drugs.

    It’s what’s happening. It’s what’s STILL happening.
    There’s street teams of motorists who follow addicts/dealers around. Police hack into people’s cars and follow suspects around.

    Let me know if you want to know more details. After all, I’m here to help.
    Other sources besides my own two friggin’ eyes:
    Huffington Post- Key Figures in CIA Crack Cocaine Scandal Begin to Come Forward: Ryan Grim 10/2014
    CNN- Nixon’s War on Drugs Began As Stragety To Attack Anti War Left and Black People March 23, 2016 Nadia Prupis
    DEA Agents Paid Man With Crack, Lawsuit Says Huffington Post Sara Bondioli July 2014

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