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Chicago Criminal Law Blog

Ten accused in alleged Chicago-Texas drug trafficking ring

Lake Michigan’s waves lap at one of the borders of Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood. According to police, one end of an illegal drug pipeline is there in one of the city’s better-known communities and the other end is in Texas.

Ten people have been arrested on federal drug charges in “Operation Grapevine,” an investigation of the pipeline, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois said. Law enforcement officials said 14 kilos of cocaine and more than a dozen guns were seized in a raid on a Kenwood home.

Body-cam recording reveals Chicago police missteps in botched raid

After the recent revelations in video obtained from Chicago police officer body cameras, is it any wonder that many city residents doubt the word of cops? According to the recordings, Chicago police officers can be heard breaking through the door of a family’s home and then continuing their search – even though after they realized they had entered the wrong residence.

According to a CBS news report, “Chicago Police Officer Joe Cappello had a search warrant to raid a drug offender’s home, but he didn’t make sure he was hitting the right place.” This is just one of many wrong-location police raids that casts doubt on the validity of similar raids that end in arrests on drug-related charges.

Third Chicago man charged in fatal Sound Bar shooting

The shooting victim was a mountain of a man: he stood 6-foot-8 and weighed more than 300 pounds. When he was shot and killed earlier this year outside the Sound Bar nightclub where he worked, news reports said that the imposing bouncer had been well-liked. But someone shot him as a brawl broke out in a crowd of about 15 people on the sidewalk at the corner of Franklin and Ontario.

Chicago police say they have arrested and charged a 41-year-old man in the fatal March shooting outside the River North club. The suspect is facing a felony count of murder and a felony count of mob action in the death of the 28-year-old security guard.

Attempted murder charge filed after Chicago cop, woman shot

According to Chicago police, a 45-year-old man shot a woman in broad daylight downtown, shot a police officer and was himself shot in a gun battle before being taken into custody. The suspect now faces a long list of felonies that include attempted murder, aggravated assault of a police officer, aggravated battery with a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio said at a news conference that the suspect had “posed a clear and present danger to the people of Chicago.”

Feds charge two in alleged Chicago gun straw purchase scheme

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently charged two men with felonies in an alleged straw purchase scheme to bring handguns to Chicago to sell. They are both charged with conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and unlawfully dealing and importing firearms, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois said in a statement.

So what is a straw purchase? It happens when a person buys a gun for someone who is prohibited by law from possessing guns or when a person buys a gun for someone who doesn’t want their name on gun dealer forms documenting legal gun sales.

Director of Suburban Chicago Autism Center Charged with Fraud

The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois is accusing the executive director of a southwest suburban autism center of engaging in fraud. Latrice Harrell runs the Champion Center for Autism and has been charged with filing fraudulent claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois for therapeutic services that did not take place.

Federal prosecutors allege that “Harrell fraudulently obtained at least $1.6 million” from the insurer. She has been charged in an indictment in U.S. District Court in Chicago with seven counts of health care fraud, as well as two counts of making false statements in a health care matter and two counts of aggravated ID theft.

Illinois Class X felonies explained

Sitting just a few miles southwest of Chicago, suburban Orland Park was recently the site of a trio of drug arrests on some of the most serious charges a person can face in Illinois. According to a news report, three out-of-state men were arrested there and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell/deliver - Class X felonies.

As many of our readers know, a Class X felony is the most serious felony Illinois has, apart from a first-degree murder charge. Even a first-time offender convicted of a Class X felony faces a mandatory minimum of six years in prison, with a possible maximum of 30 years behind bars.

Illinois state senator accused of embezzling from union

Though Illinois State Sen. Thomas E. Cullerton lives in suburban Villa Park, he was recently indicted by a federal jury in Chicago. The 49-year-old faces multiple charges of public corruption, including 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union. He is also charged with conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans.

Federal prosecutors allege that Cullerton fraudulently received salary and benefits from a union, though he did little or no work for the organization.

Trio of Chicago men face federal murder-for-hire charges

Three Chicago men have been charged by federal authorities with violent crimes in the city’s Lawndale neighborhood. The men – ages 37, 26 and 19 – are accused of involvement in a murder-for-hire operation that resulted in two fatal shootings.

The men are each charged with conspiracy to use an interstate facility in the commission of a murder for hire, according to John R. Lausch, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Report: meth use and arrests on the rise in Illinois

While much media attention is focused on the opioids epidemic, fewer headlines are devoted to the resurgence of methamphetamine. The powerful stimulant has regained the popularity it had back in the 1990s and early 2000s.

According to research by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, meth-related drug arrests have increased significantly in our state in the past few years.

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