Gang activities have been targeted in a Chicago police crackdown in recent weeks with a series of round-ups of alleged members of organized groups.
The people arrested included a man who works for an anti-violence group, reported the Chicago Sun Times.
Federal prosecutors said Francisco “Smokey” Sanchez was charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a felon.
Sanchez describes himself as a “violence interrupter” for CeaseFire. Police allege he is part of the Gangster Two-Six Nation street gang.
The Gangster Two-Six Nation gang is a well-established street organization in Chicago. It was founded in 1964.
Sanchez’s CeaseFire organization was the subject of an award-winning documentary. However, funding for the organization shrank in recent years. The organization once had a budget of $4.5 million. It now relies on private donations.
In announcing the arrests last month, Acting U.S. Attorney Joel Levin highlighted the link between street gangs and violence. He said.
“Most of the transactions that have been charged in this case occurred in areas of Chicago that have been plagued by violence.”
The arrests were made during a joint federal-state investigation, dubbed “Operation Bunny Trap.” According to reports, police seized 118 firearms including shotguns and assault rifles as well as more than 800 grams of cocaine, 280 grams of crystal meth and in excess of 250 grams of fentanyl.
Features of the round-up included:
· The uncovering of alleged drug and gun transactions in a Brighton Park pizza parlor.
· The busting of two alleged illegal gun deals in a grocery store parking lot.
· The uncovered of illegal gun sales in South Side neighborhoods, including Chatham, Chicago Lawn, Clearing, and Englewood, and in the suburbs of Homewood, Berwyn, and Alsip.
In all, 48 alleged gang members are facing federal or state charges after the round-up, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced.
Illinois has some of the toughest sentences for firearms offenses in the country. The drive to target street gangs meant the state.
Recently, legislation tightened up the penalties for repeat gun offenders, we noted on our blog. If you have been charged with a gun or a weapons offense in Chicago, call us for a free consultation at (312) 229-0008.