CHICAGO (CBS) — Early Tuesday morning raids netted in the arrests of 12 suspected gang members or gang associates who allegedly operate in Will County. They were among 16 people named in arrest warrants following a 14-month joint investigation with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Four suspects are still being sought.
Celinez Nunez, special agent in charge of ATF’s Chicago division said 36 semi-automatic guns were confiscated. She said they will all be added into a national database to determine whether they may have been used in other crimes.
“We see the shootings going on north of us and we’ve had a number of indiscriminate shootings in our county and we’re not going to tolerate it,” said Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.
Glasgow said all of the suspects are being held on state charges of everything from armed habitual criminal to gun-running to drug peddling to unlawful sale or use of a gun.
“We pulled out the stops” and wanted to charge the suspects with as much as they could, he said. Prosecutors are going to try to put the 16 people in prison “for as long as possible.”
“I say to the criminal element. Get used to it because we’re coming again and again and we’re coming as a team.” said Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton.
Glasgow said something else law enforcement is having to deal with is what street gangs call, “Get a Body”.
“It means, go out and shoot somebody indiscriminately so you could brag that you got a body. So, taking these guns off the street is absolutely critical. The illegal guns are what are killing people,” he said.
Glasgow said that, in the future, he’d like to see even more cooperation with federal law enforcement in the hopes some suspects in Will County face federal charges which carry longer sentences than the suspects could get with similar state charges.
“I look forward to partnering with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to taking some of these cases federally. Longer sentences, get them out of Illinois and that’s the long-run goal here,” he said.
Most of the suspects are being held on bonds ranging from $200,000 to $1-million.