No Winners in Chicago Open Air Drug Market Bust

An article by Michelle Keller in the Chicago Tribune today very factually reported on a police raid and shutdown of an open-air drug market. Fourteen suspects described as gang members were charged with conspiracy and delivery of a controlled substance, according to the article. Things got a little dicey just before the arrests were finally made:
One undercover officer was held at gunpoint while attempting to buy $500 worth of cocaine during the operation, dubbed "Heat Wave" for the high temperatures recorded when the operation was started in July. "I was very scared," said the officer, who had previously arranged to buy 10 "jabs" of crack cocaine. The dealers knew he would have several hundred dollars on him, said the officer.
Police then stepped in to make the arrests. The market -- reportedly operated by a gang known as "The Conservative Vice Lords" -- operated near a pre-K-8 school, Keller reported. Sgt. Carlos Mostek told her, "Had any gunfire erupted, the children who were attending school would have been in harm's way." That's a valid concern. I hope the bust was not done during school hours or anywhere near school hours, because gunfire could certainly have broken out as part of that. I also hope the undercover officer attempted his buy during non-school hours -- his activity also nearly prompted gunfire. This is a losing situation from beginning to end. Because of prohibition we have this open air markets, staffed by gang members who are willing to shoot at each other -- risking the lives of bystanders in the process -- in order to protect their turf or to capture turf from others and thereby increase their market share. A police raid, while shutting the market down, in the process increased the overall danger in the vicinity, at least for as long as the sting and bust were in process. Will the corner calm down? Perhaps, but the activity may restart even there, and if not it will certainly move to somewhere else. Sometimes these busts lead to more internecine violence as rival operators fight each other for the opportunity to be the new guys on the block. Sometimes the instability even draws in new drugs to the neighborhood that weren't common there before. Legalization, not raids and arrests, is what will clean the mess of the illegal drug trade off the streets. Click here to send a letter to the editor. Note: According to, the Conservative Vice Lords started as a gang but transformed themselves into a community empowerment organization. I don't know enough about this topic to offer an evaluation; I just got the name of the reported gang from the article. If anyone is able to clarify this issue, please post your knowledge here for us. Thanks in advance.
Chicago, IL
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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In Chicago, the endless

In Chicago, the endless stream of willing drug dealers are mostly ignored by the police. Instead, user's, and more importantly, their cars, are what the cops are after. The courts throw out most sting arrests, or agree to dismiss charges after the suspect attends drug classes. And there's no room in Cook County jails.
But the city uses the police to milk a cash cow: impoundment fees. Any vehicle used during a drug arrest (not conviction) is impounded and subject to fees that start at $1300.00. Draconian administrative hearings are scheduled weeks after the impoundment, guarantee hundreds more in storage fees for the city. The suspect usually faces no legal consequences, but is extorted by the city bureaucracy through this “guilty without a trial” scheme.
Certainly, numerous cars go unclaimed, and are either auctioned off or sold for scrap, adding to the city’s revenue stream. Expansion of this thievery gives the police the right to kidnap your car for soliciting (just looking at the UC is enough), carrying fireworks, or even spray paint that could possibly be used for tagging.
So you think the Chicago Police are looking to reduce crime? They’re looking at you CAR!

I agree 100 hundred percent ,

I agree 100 hundred percent , from personal experience!!

vice lords is a gang that i

vice lords is a gang that i am appart of but it is more than that we are also a family that is for peace not war bacause blood love overcomes our deppression also brothrly love override opression and destruction...almighty

vice lords

as a righteous represetative of the conservative vice lord nation i shall say that our main purpose is to bring unity within the black community as well as uplift our people who need that positive influence in thier life...true alot of vice lords live the criminal lifestyle but we are about love truth peace freedon and justice 4 all...not just blacks but all people who have faith in god or allah what have you........almighty 5 star branch elite CVL westside chicago 600 side

Conservative Vice Lords are

Conservative Vice Lords are a violent street gang that participates in theft, assault, extortion, murder. I grew up in da hood and I've seen the damage these animals do, they terrorize the elderly and law abiding citizens. Throw them all in jail, I could care less.

Take away the demand

The government needs to take the profit out of the drug trade by decriminalizing drugs. If there was no prohibition on drugs the gangs would make no money selling them. Then the murders over turf and all the other crime that comes along with it ( the addict stealing to get his money for his fix ) would greatly decline.Drugs could be regulated and taxed like in other nations, you dont see open air-drug markets in other countrys now do you?

Prohibition is a Crime.

You couldn't be more RIGHT ON THE BALL with this. Prohibition is the cause and root of ALL drug-related crime. To the person who mentioned how the police are out stealing drug users cars, you should see Camden, where they make their revenue by charging anyone who they wish under a constitution violating law called "frequenting a known narcotics trafficking area". This supposed "law" is in clear violation of a persons "right to free travel" as is guaranteed by the US constitution, but this doesn't stop Camden City Police Officers from illegally arresting and charging ANYONE and EVERYONE who gets lost or travels through an impoverished residential area. This mechanism only continues to ensure that our police are used as paid theives on wheels, while REAL crimes continue to rot the urban landscape to one gigantic impoverished "known narcotics trafficking" ghetto cage-trap.

i have been a victim of

i have been a victim of these drug stings. it has nothing to do with cleaning our neighborhood.THEY ARE OUT THERE TO COVER THEIR TRACKS! How is it we are in poverty but we are rich with drugs and weapons.THANKS 4 THE UNWANTED GIFTS

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