June 16, 2010
Eight known or suspected members of the Gangster Disciples street gang were arrested early Tuesday during a nearly three-year investigation into drug trafficking in and around the Cabrini-Green housing project on Chicago's Near North Side.
Four of the defendants were charged in federal criminal complaints with violating federal drug laws: Ernest Banks, 36, of the 1200 block of North Bosworth Avenue; Baaque Johnson, 34, of the 2100 block of West Madison Street; Ernie Robinson, 38, of the 10600 block of South Perry Avenue and Levale Vann, 30, of the 1100 block of West Erie Street.
They were accused of being involved in the distribution of crack cocaine since at least November 2007.
Four others were charged with violating state firearms laws: Tavares Gunn, 19, of the 1200 block of North Burling Street; Jarod Jarrett, 23, of the 1600 block of North Vine Street; Corey Smith, 36, of the 1500 block of North Linder Avenue; and Ellis Woodland, 36, of the 500 block of North Pine Avenue.
The investigation, dubbed "Operation Badlands," was part of a coordinated effort by local, state and federal authorities to identify and dismantle the many highly organized drug trafficking organizations operating in and around the Chicago area.
"This investigation employed the extensive use of sophisticated physical surveillance techniques, the controlled purchase of illicit drugs and the consensual recording of telephone conversations involving one or more of the defendants," the FBI said today in a news release.
Banks, Johnson, Robinson and Vann all appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys Tuesday, and were ordered held without bail, pending their next court appearance on June 21.
Gunn, Jarrett, Smith and Woodland were being held in the Cook County Jail, each on $70,000 bail. Their next court appearance is scheduled for June 22.