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.
The citizens of East St. Louis once believed their town was destined for greatness. They thought the town was poised to outdistance Chicago as the premier industrial giant and railroad freight node of the Midwest.
According to Andrew Theising, political scientist at the Institute for Urban Research at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and series editor of the East St. Louis Sesquicentennial series, “In the 19th century residents really did think it would be the new Pittsburgh. (Early) documents are just gushing with civic pride.”
Less than one week ago East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks announced a list of new measures in an attempt to curb recent violence in the city. Among the new rules is a curfew for all youth after 10:00 p.m. A ban from wearing royal blue or bright red clothing was also in effect for all men though the Mayor has since backed down.
Host Don Marsh talks with multiple guests about the new measures which stem from a deadly weekend in which an 18 year old man was stabbed to death and three young men died after being shot in the parking lot of a local club.