Round Lake Park police and federal authorities have made three arrests in a neighboring village in what they say is a continuing investigation of local drug dealers and street gang members.
Police Chief George Filenko said the suspects were seized Thursday night after authorities obtained a search warrant for a home in the 200 block of Persimmon Court in Round Lake Beach. He said information developed at the Persimmon Court address led to officers arresting one suspect at a home in the 1500 block of Round Lake Drive in Round Lake Beach.
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Jorge Venegas, 19, who lives at the Persimmon Court home, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Luis A. Tellez, 18, of the 700 block of Bernice Street in Round Lake, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.
Police said Fernando M. Aceves, 24, who lives at the Round Lake Drive address, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
Filenko said $1,958 in cash and 263 grams of marijuana, with a street value of roughly $3,000, were recovered. He said the men are known gang members and associates.
"Although the amounts and the types of drugs seized may appear minimal compared to major drug operations, our efforts are a bottom-up approach focusing on local, street-level gangs that fund illegal weapons purchases and other narcotics with these sales," he said.
Thursday's effort was part of the continuing Operation Street Sweep involving federal and local law-enforcement authorities, which began in Round Lake Park and neighboring towns in April 2012.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agents assigned to a regional gang-intervention unit have been part of the operation. Local illicit drug sales and gang activity have been the focus for investigators.