Officials have charged more than 50 individuals following a three-month long investigation into drug-dealing in East St. Louis.
The operation, called "Wild Wild East," was carried out by Illinois State Police. St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said the defendants are at the middle tier in the drug trade, and were involved in dealing out heroin and cocaine.
58 charges ranged from delivery and armed violence to conspiracy. Kelly said the good news is that the arrests will have a serious impact on the area.
An East St. Louis police detective is in federal custody today on charges that he and six other men helped distribute more than five kilos of cocaine in St. Clair and Madison counties over the last month.
Orlando Ward, 41, has been with the department for more than a decade. He will remain in jail until a hearing on May 15.
Searchers are looking for a 12-year-old St. Louis County boy last seen Sunday night after telling his family he was going to swing on a rope on the Meramec River. A missing person advisory went out early Monday morning for Christopher Marks. He was last seen at about 7:30 p.m. last night in Pacific. Police are assembling this morning at the river with plans to search the water and the heavily-wooded area near it.
Child abusers could face tougher penalties under Mo. legislation
People who injure or kill a baby by shaking the child could face tougher penalties under legislation moving through the Missouri House. The House has endorsed a measure expanding Missouri's child abuse law to specifically cover causing a baby's death or injury by shaking.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is touting new measures to increase security for public housing residents in East St. Louis. The federally-funded plan includes installing cameras at six high-rise properties and hiring a new security coordinator.
"We're going to be putting up lighting and fencing," Durbin said. "We're going to move forward to try to make sure the almost 4,500 residents of public housing in East St. Louis have a safer place to live."
Just under two months after being re-named as East St. Louis' police chief, not only has Michael Baxton resigned from his post - he's also pleaded guilty to federal charges of stealing evidence and making false statements to federal investigators.
The ongoing process in East St. Louis concerning 16 police officer layoffs has gone back and forth, but the discussion between police union leaders and city officials seems to have made some significant progress.