A Schaumburg man was one of 35 people swept up in multijurisdictional operation that netted several guns, hundreds of grams of drugs and more than $10,000 in cash, federal prosecutors announced.
Arturo Lara, 54, is one of 15 people arrested in the investigation and facing state drug charges stemming from the investigation that targeted a Chicago gang leader.
Lara is charged with possession of a controlled substance and faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison if convicted, authorities said.
Prosecutors say the Gangster Disciples controlled illegal drug sales in several neighborhoods on Chicago's West Side. Leader Johnny "Goo" Herndon, 55, presided over open drug markets that generated more than $160,000 in revenue a month in crack sales alone, a 178-page federal complaint alleges.
The arrests come in the wake of calls by politicians for federal authorities to do more to help police in the nation's third-largest city stem persistent gang-, drug- and gun-driven violence.
U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said closer-than-ever cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement made the arrests possible.
"This is exhibit A of the progress that we have made," Fardon said at a news conference about the arrests.
Over two decades, Herndon invested more than $1 million in drug profits in 31 real estate properties in the Chicago-area, including a three-story building that he converted into a single-family home for himself, the complaint says.
His territory was particularly lucrative because it hugs the bustling Eisenhower Expressway, making access easier for both drug customers and suppliers, according to the complaint. Fardon referred to the expressway as a "heroin highway."
At Thursday's news conference, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said it was no longer unusual to come across gang members as old or older than Herndon. Fathers and grandfathers sometimes work side by side in gangs, she said.
"Gangs in Chicago are generational now," she said.
• Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.