‘Operation Heroin Highway’: State Police combat heroin trafficking on Illinois roads

Online Staff Report

DUPAGE COUNTY, Ill. — The Illinois State Police (ISP) Drug Enforcement Group has announced the results of Operation Heroin Highway — an undercover drug enforcement collaboration with the Illinois State Police, Chicago Police and the DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group (DUMEG).

Operation Heroin Highway was launched to address the exploding epidemic of heroin trafficking flowing into and around Illinois. Prior to the operation, agents worked with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to identify target locations on the west side of Chicago, where the heroin is bought and sold.

Illinois is considered a gateway, and Interstate 290 is used as a main trafficking thoroughfare to transport the drugs and is considered a major drug trafficking route for marijuana, heroin and cocaine.

The ISP DUMEG investigates many local drug cases and conducts interdiction operations on the interstates. The group consists of local and ISP police officers who are assigned to the enforcement group. More than 30 agents from ISP and the DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group participated in the enforcement detail.

Beginning in the morning hours of Tuesday, April 29, the agents operated in covert vehicles and witnessed the hand-to-hand transactions. During these transactions, several subjects participated in the delivery of narcotics. The agents followed the subjects to I-290, where a uniformed ISP trooper was waiting to make the arrest.

The exploding trafficking and use of heroin throughout Illinois is having a devastating impact on families and communities,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “It’s no longer limited to street narcotics dealing because the market is here and the highways have become dangerous distribution points.”

Police concluded Operation Heroin Highway, an approximately five-hour investigation, with the arrest of seven individuals, four of whom were charged with drug-related offenses. Operation Heroin Highway was the first undercover heroin drug investigation conducted by ISP DUMEG so far this year.

In 2013, 252 arrests were made by ISP DUMEG. Fifty-three of those arrests resulted in heroin-related charges.

Heroin arrests increased 15 percent in 2012. In 2013, there was a 319 percent increase in heroin seizures and purchases compared to 2012.

The Illinois State Police and its law enforcement partners will continue their enforcement efforts and public awareness initiatives to help ensure communities, Illinois roads and motorists are as safe as possible. The ISP is also in the process of developing its response training program for officers to deliver antidotes to overdoses of heroin.

Posted May 1, 2014

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